OneBlood may merge with blood bank in Pittsburgh
With demand for blood transfusions falling and hospitals clamoring for lower prices, the largest blood bank in Florida announced Friday it intends to merge with another blood center operating partly in the Midwest.
OneBlood, with its virtual headquarters in Orlando, is looking to combine forces with The Institute for Transfusion Medicine, also known as ITxM and based in Pittsburgh.
If the deal is completed, the two nonprofits would form the largest independent blood bank in the country, with combined revenues of $480 million, 3,500 employees and distributing nearly 2 million units of blood annually.
"The landscape of the blood industry is shifting, and it demands a progressive and forward-thinking approach to ensure safe, available and affordable blood for our hospital partners and their patients,” OneBlood CEO Don Doddridge said in a release.
OneBlood is the larger of the two banks, with about 2,000 employees and $295 million in revenues last year. It serves about 80 percent of Florida and parts of Alabama and Georgia.
ITxM operates in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Virginia and parts of Ohio, West Virginia. It does not serve areas covered by OneBlood.
OneBlood was created in January 2012 when blood centers in Orlando, St. Petersburg and South Florida merged.
Susan Forbes, a spokeswoman for OneBlood, said the two nonprofits have entered into a “due diligence” phase in which they will exchange financial records to ensure the merger makes sense. Several months likely will pass before a final decision is made, she said. She would not speculate on the possibility of layoffs or a name change.
OneBlood has laid off dozens of employees since it came into being two and a half years ago, in part because hospitals have shied away from transfusions. Studies show that patients often recover more quickly without transfusions.
Blood transfusions have dropped 7 percent industrywide, according to reports. Forbes would not discuss specifics of OneBlood’s financial performance, but records indicate revenue has fallen from $360 million in 2012, and about 700 employees have been let go or have left since then.
To remain competitive, OneBlood has dropped its per-unit price for blood to less than $300. OneBlood, like all blood banks, takes donated blood, tests it for safety, breaks it up into different components and sells it to hospitals and clinics.
Hospitals have reduced transfusions by decreasing the amount of blood lost during surgery through certain techniques, along with boosting a patient’s blood production ahead of procedures. A patient suffering from a wound or injury might also have blood captured and cleaned by machines in the emergency room, and then returned to the body.