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Changes coming to campus blood drives

Starting July 1, American Red Cross will be replaced by Versiti Inc. as the official blood supplier for the Wexner Medical Center. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will officially change blood suppliers from The American Red Cross to Versiti Inc. starting July 1.

Versiti is a blood research and donation network that covers Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and soon Ohio, with a Columbus branch opening in June. Fay Spano, Versiti director of corporate communications and public relations, affirmed the company’s need to build a relationship with the Ohio State community.

Spano noted that Versiti is excited to partner with a “distinguished organization” like the Wexner Medical Center to help serve “the needs of the patients in need of donations.”

“We know we can’t serve that need without the ongoing generosity of blood donors at the university, as well as the greater Columbus community,” Spano said.

While the Red Cross will no longer be the official blood supplier for the Wexner medical Center, it will still host blood drives on campus and in the community as well as work with the American Red Cross Club at Ohio State.

“We are disappointed by this decision as the Red Cross has been a reliable supplier to the OSU Wexner Medical Center for over 50 years; however, we understand this is a business decision,” a press release from the American Red Cross said. “We stand ready to provide blood products to the community when patients are in need and will continue to host blood drives in the community.”

Versiti’s large network, advanced blood matching capabilities, and research centers make it suited to meet the many specialized and complex needs of the Wexner Center Hospital, according to a Wexner Medical Center press release.

Dr. Scott Scrape, medical director of transfusion medicine and apheresis — the removal of blood plasma from the body — said he is optimistic about the increased capabilities the Wexner Medical Center will provide under Versiti.

Scrape described Versiti as having “unique capabilities” and said that it will greatly help the medical center’s bone marrow transplant, sickle cell and solid organ transplant programs.

“With these complicated patients, sometimes it can be a challenge to find matching blood,” Scrape said. “Versiti has a large database of blood types they have on hand that they can search, or we can search, to find the most appropriate blood in the quickest amount of time.”

This database is a lifesaver to the many patients in the hospitals Versiti serves, but also a benefit to student donors, Spano said.

To meet the increased accuracy in blood typing for patients, Spano said Versiti conducts more accurate blood typing for donors to identify uncommon or rare blood types that meet the needs of patients with those same blood antigens.

Spano also assured student donors that Versiti will honor its blood donation milestones from other collection agencies.

Edited at 2/18/19 to reflect that the American Red Cross will still have a presence on campus. The article had previously stated that the Red Cross would be “missing” from campus.