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OneBlood To Merge With Institue For Transfusion Medicine

More changes are in the works for OneBlood. The Orlando-based blood bank, which has an office in Pensacola, is entering into an agreement with The Institute for Transfusion Medicine.

Based in Pittsburgh, ITxM is a not-for-profit blood center and transfusion services organization that operates in Chicago, Virginia and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. OneBlood, serves most of Florida and parts of South Alabama and Georgia.

Susan Forbes at OneBlood says the healthcare industry has entered a new era of blood-banking, which Forbes says demands a progressive and forward-thinking approach to ensure availability.

“Relying on the business model of the past to take us where we need to go in the future really is not what we’re doing,” Forbes said. “We’re looking for new opportunities like this, and not waiting for ‘changed impact operations.’ We’re really leading the change.”

Forbes says health care is very different today than it was even five years ago, with a growing need by hospitals for the emerging larger-scale blood centers.

The merger between OneBlood and ITxM would create the largest independent non-profit blood center in the United States -- distributing nearly two million units per year. Combined revenues total $480 million, with a 3,500-member workforce.

“Right now, we’re in the ‘due diligence’ phase,” said Forbes. “Our intent is to merge and over the course of the next several months we’ll see how it all comes together.”

Officials with both companies say that combining the resources of two industry leading blood centers, the supply is strengthened, and is better suited to handle both everyday needs and those in times of natural disasters -- such as hurricanes in the south and winter storms in the north.

This isn’t the first rodeo for either firm. OneBlood was formed in 2012 with the merger of Northwest Florida Blood center and two other not-for-profit blood centers in Orlando and St. Petersburg. ITxM was created in 1987 and is the parent company of the Central Blood Bank which was created in 1951.

The merger could serve as a boost for OneBlood. The Orlando Sentinel reports the center’s revenues have dropped about $360 million from 2012, with 700 employees either let go or having left on their own. Part of downturn is said to be from hospitals conducting fewer transfusions – reportedly down 7% industry-wide. Studies show that patients often recover more quickly without them.