Local hospital partners with blood supplier

ALBANY -- An area hospital recently established a partnership officials say will improve their ability to meet patient needs.

Southeastern Community Blood Center (SCBC) in Tallahassee, Fla., recently accepted an invitation to become the sole supplier of blood and blood products for Palmyra Medical Center.

"Palmyra approached us and we were certainly thrilled with the prospect of serving Albany," SCBC District Executive Director Michael Stiles said. "In the long-run it will provide Palmyra a safe and stable blood supply."

The partnership will enhance Palmyra's ability to meet the needs of patients within their service area, and enable the blood center to bring the issue of blood donation to the forefront of the Albany community, officials say.

"The partnership will ensure we can maintain quality patient care," said Eric Riggle, spokesman for Palmyra.

The decision from Palmyra was made for several reasons, including SCBC's reputation in terms of product quality and cost-effective service, Riggle explained.

"It's a win-win for both groups," he said.

Once Palmyra approached SCBC about a partnership, they met with the hospital's senior administration to work out the details. Shipments of blood started going out last week.

"(The partnership) means we are the primary supplier of blood-related products," he explained.

The center plans to conduct two shipments of blood a week in addition to any necessary emergency shipments, Stiles said.

SCBC is a non-profit organization serving more than 25 counties in north Florida and south Georgia. In addition to its main branch in Tallahassee, SCBC operates offices in Douglas, Thomasville and Marianna, Fla.

Blood collected in the SCBC service area is returned to patients within the same geographic location, with excess blood occasionally shipped elsewhere.

"It's important for people to know blood donated in the region will stay in the region," Riggle said.

SCBC and Palmyra are planning to kick off their partnership by hosting a blood drive together from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Jan. 21. A bloodmobile will be parked in front of the hospital, and all individuals presenting to donate will be given a free National Blood Donor Month T-shirt.

"We are hoping to branch out to the community a bit," Stiles said. "By the community coming out to donate, they are supporting the community."

Donors that present will also be entered to win a Sony MP3 player with speaker dock and an HP laptop computer with Geek Squad help for setup.

To be a donor, individuals have to be in good health, at least 17 years old (or 16 years old with parental permission) and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds.