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Local Mountain States hospitals leave Wellmont's Marsh Regional Blood Center for blood supply

Staff Report • Sep 3, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Mountain States Health Alliance has left Wellmont Health System-owned Marsh Regional Blood Center for its blood services in Washington and Johnson counties and enlisted the services of a Chattanooga-based supplier.

MSHA began purchasing blood from Marsh in 2009, as officials from both regional health systems heralded the arrangement as an example of collaboration between the two competing systems.

Effective Sunday, Mountain States took on Blood Assurance, a Chattanooga-based non-profit center, as the exclusive supplier for Johnson City Medical Center, Johnson County Community Hospital and Franklin Woods Community Hospital.

“We are excited to be partnering with Blood Assurance to provide life-saving blood products to patients at MSHA hospitals,” David Nicely, president and CEO of MSHA’s Washington County facilities, said in a news release issued by Blood Assurance. “As always, our patients are our No. 1 priority, and maintaining a reliable and cost-effective blood supply is an important part of our commitment to providing world-class service to the patients we serve.

"This is especially true at the level 1 trauma center at Johnson City Medical Center, where we must always be prepared for any need that comes through the doors, day or night.”

In a written statement released through a spokesman, Wellmont said it had been interested in continuing the relationship between Marsh and the MSHA facilities, as "it proved to be a productive regional partnership that yielded

no service complaints, but Mountain States Health Alliance decided to switch


"Marsh Regional will continue to serve

many other MSHA facilities and other hospitals in Northeast Tennessee and

Southwest Virginia," the statement read. "Plus, Marsh Regional recently entered into a partnership

with East Tennessee State University athletics in which the sports program will

donate 1,000 units during the next year. We also oversee some of the drives at

ETSU and hold drives at virtually all high schools and colleges in the region."

Blood Assurance officials said donors in Washington and Sullivan Counties can support the needs of the local MSHA hospitals by donating blood with Blood Assurance, which will process and test the blood donations then fulfill the orders from the hospitals based on blood type and specific patient needs.

“Blood Assurance is looking forward to working with donors, civic groups and businesses as we reach a common purpose of impacting lives in Johnson City and the surrounding area,” Rick Youngblood, president and CEO of Blood Assurance, said in the news release. “Blood Assurance plans to provide blood for all the Mountain States Health Alliance hospitals over the coming months, allowing us more opportunity to serve the Tri-Cities area.”

Youngblood invited the area’s blood donors to donate with Blood Assurance and encouraged first-time donors to begin the habit of giving blood every 56 days. When separated into components of platelets, plasma and red cells, each blood donation can benefit up to three patients in need.

Founded in 1972 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Blood Assurance is a non-profit regional blood center supplying blood components to more than 70 hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout five states, including Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Wellmont's statement directed donors wishing to continue with the local blood supplier to Marsh Regional’s donor centers at 102 E. Ravine Road, Kingsport, and 1996 W.

State St., Bristol. Marsh also conducts blood drives throughout

the region each week.

Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for more on this developing story.

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