In the past year, America's Blood Centers significantly
increased coalition work with AdvaMed, the American Hospital
Association, the American Medical Association, the American Red
Cross, the Health Coalition on Liability and Access, the National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Marrow Donor
Program, and other organizations through Capitol Hill briefings,
meetings, and hearings.
Staff worked with America's Blood Centers' member blood centers to reach out to congressmen, state legislators, and governors to acknowledge our 50th anniversary. More than 10 state and federal officials offered video testimonials, floor speeches, and letters of congratulations and support to America's Blood Centers.
With the help of our member blood centers, America's Blood Centers obtained a pledge from the general counsel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to insert language benefitting blood centers into a legislative report that will accompany a medical malpractice liability reform bill, H.R.5. The language will stipulate that it is the intent of Congress that blood centers should benefit from protections contained in the bill the same as doctors and hospitals. H.R. 5 was passed by the House of Representatives in March 2012.
America's Blood Centers' Interim Meeting took place in Kansas
City, Mo. with Community Blood Center (Kansas City, Mo.). It
featured sessions and presentations that covered a wide array of
topics, from changes in red blood cell shelf life to infectious
disease, but several presentations focused on blood management,
with many speakers emphasizing the need for more data about blood
utilization and transfusion outcomes.
The evening social and networking events often highlighted America's Blood Centers' and its member blood centers' past accomplishments, while the sessions reminded attendees just how much healthcare and blood banking have changed over the years, focusing on how blood centers can position themselves for continued success. The meeting culminated with the 15th Annual Awards of Excellence ceremony.
America's Blood Centers distributed seven press releases during the year. Staff and spokespersons conducted numerous interviews, while assisting the following print, online, and broadcast media outlets:
These articles covered a variety of topics including:
America's Blood Centers launched a multi-pronged advocacy effort
to reduce or eliminate an impending excise tax on medical devices
sold to blood centers. The Health Care and Education Reconciliation
Act of 2010 imposed a 2.3 percent excise tax on manufacturers,
producers, and importers on the sale of medical devices.
A rough calculation suggests that the tax could cost blood centers more than $40 million a year, if passed directly onto customers by manufacturers. That is more than $2 in new taxes for each blood donation made by volunteers. Therefore, America's Blood Centers is seeking congressional support for a "carve out" to exempt from the tax those items sold to blood centers. Activities have included meetings with Congressional staff and letters to key lawmakers. Additionally, we were among more than 400 groups and companies that signed a letter to Congress seeking repeal of the tax.
For the fourth straight year, America's Blood Centers partnered with the Migrant Students Foundation for the annual National Cesar E. Chavez Blood Drive Challenge. This national service learning initiative engages U.S. Latino/Hispanic college student leaders to organize a "smart and healthy living" campaign on their college campus, while also hosting a campus-wide blood drive. Through the 2012 initiative, 229 colleges participated, registering over 19,000 donors to give blood and collecting over 16,000 total units of blood. Of those donors, about 6,000 were of Latino/Hispanic descent and about 5,000 were first-time donors.
America's Blood Centers continued to participate in various
Interorganizational Task Forces such as Disaster Preparedness, AABB
Committees, the European Blood Alliance's Emerging Infectious
Diseases Committee, the FDA Blood Product Advisory Committee, the
Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and
Availability, ISBT's Working Party on Transfusion Transmitted
Infectious Diseases, and Pharma Conferences Organizing
We advocated to: improve written statements of understanding for blood donors; identify opportunities maintain a safe and adequate supply of donated blood during a severe emergency; improve FDA's submission response times; modify malaria deferrals; approve "concurrent plasma"; and identify alternative, less burdensome statistical plans for product quality control of cellular products.
Staff participated in the FDA's Quarantine Release Error Workshop and presented results of a survey of America's Blood Centers member blood centers, which included denominator data, providing critical information on true rates of quality release events to panel members. The FDA Workshop on Hemoglobin Standards and Maintaining Adequate Iron Stores in Blood Donors presented another critical forum in which America's Blood Centers participated on behalf of member blood centers.
America's Blood Centers identified, distributed, and reviewed 22 draft/final regulatory documents and submitted comments as appropriate on subjects such as Bloodborne Pathogen Standard for Blood and Plasma, Computer Crossmatches, Eligibility Determination for Donors, Full-Length and Abbreviated Donor History Questionnaires, hepatitis B nucleic acid testing, and Labeling Requirements for Blood and Blood Components.