COMPETING BLOOD BANKS MERGE INTO DESERT BLOOD SERVICES

COMPETING BLOOD BANKS MERGE INTO DESERT BLOOD SERVICES

Ending years of fierce competition, the region’s two blood providers have joined forces to form a single nonprofit supplier. Community Blood Bank and LifeStream will provide blood to the area under the combined name Desert Blood Services, according to an announcement made yesterday. The two groups will own Desert Blood Services equally, leaders at LifeStream and Community Blood Bank said. However, LifeStream will handle Desert Blood Service’s day-to-day operations and maintain its name outside of the Coachella Valley. The move consolidates a $7 million blood services industry, which has been split about evenly between the two organizations. Combined, they provide some 22,000 units of blood to desert hospitals. It also ends a contentious rivalry between the providers, sparked when LifeStream moved into the area and replaced Community Blood Bank as Hi-Desert Medical Center and Desert Regional Medical Center’s primary blood supplier. The rapidly increasing cost of health care spurred the two local blood providers to stop competing and start collaborating. They expect the move to reduce costs, driving down the price of blood provided to local hospitals. They also hope new harmony will boost blood donations, which have declined since the organizations started competing.

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