Thank you for your publication's ongoing, insightful coverage of our nation's healthcare system and your June 22 cover story about the dramatic changes within American Red Cross Blood Services ("Out for blood," p. 26).
As your article correctly noted, the Red Cross made substantial investments to re-engineer every aspect of Blood Services, necessitating borrowing to fund improvements. It is inaccurate to conclude that blood banking competition resulted from Red Cross efforts to recover re-engineering costs through aggressive expansion. Hospitals recognize our quality improvements and demand our products and services. Our humanitarian mission is the primary reason we are expanding.
For years, the lack of market competition artificially insulated blood banking from healthy efforts to improve services. Our transformation is about applying the most advanced tools of management, science, technology and medicine to blood banking. The Red Cross allocates nearly $13 million annually for our quality assurance program. We invested nearly $40 million to build eight state-of-the-art national testing laboratories. This year alone, we committed $20 million toward blood safety research and the development of cutting-edge technologies.
We find that most hospitals are eager to understand the substantial investments Red Cross has made to deliver high-quality products and services. As hospitals understand the value of what we have built, they often find other blood centers have not made a similar investment. Because Red Cross believes in sharing our hard-won knowledge and skills, we offer partnership programs to non-Red Cross centers to help them harness our system advantages, which they may never be able to afford independently.
Chief operating officer
American Red Cross, Washington