(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – As our nation’s blood centers face significant blood donation shortages, growing demand for plasma, and increasing financial strain, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) today joined Reps. Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), Rodney Davis (IL-13), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and more than 40 colleagues in urging House leadership to include assistance for blood centers in the next COVID-19 relief legislative package.
The Members wrote, “The U.S. blood supply faces serious operational challenges as thousands of blood drives have been canceled as organizations and businesses temporarily close. As a result, blood centers have quickly transitioned their operations to ensure a sufficient blood supply during the pandemic.”
The Members continued, “Protecting the health and safety of donors, patients, and blood center staff remains the top priority for the blood community. To ensure the safety of both staff and the healthy blood donors, blood centers across the country are undertaking extraordinary public health measures including social distancing, increased infection control procedures, acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, and more. These measures, in addition to the impact of cancelled drives, have added substantial costs to blood center operations, both directly and through decreased efficiency.”
In support of the 46 Members’ efforts to include funding for these critical facilities, Kate Fry, the CEO of America’s Blood Centers, stated, "Community blood centers have always ensured the availability of the nation's blood supply for the patients that rely on America's health care system. Now is no exception as community blood centers have mobilized to collect convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients. Unprecedented financial challenges however mean blood centers need Congress to provide immediate financial assistance to ensure their vital work will continue."
According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion every two seconds. However, due to social distancing guidance and stay-at-home orders, thousands of blood drives have been cancelled, severely impacting organizations’ abilities to replenish blood reserves.
A full copy of the letter can be found here.