Nine Non-profit Blood Centers Create National Blood Testing Cooperative

January 7, 2019

Media Release (for immediate release)

Wendy Trivisonno

ATLANTA, Georgia. — The National Blood Testing Cooperative (NBTC), a new blood testing cooperative organization created by nine blood centers, has been formed to allow community-based blood centers to take control of their blood testing needs.  NBTC provides high-quality testing services, at cost, to its owner-members by eliminating unnecessary profit-mark-ups that large testing entities charge.  Testing services are set to begin by end of year, 2019.

The cooperative business model has a proven, highly successful track record in the blood banking industry.  NBTC, however, is the first cooperative formed specifically for blood testing needs.  Being owned by the organizations it serves, NBTC has a fundamental understanding of the blood banking industry and understands the importance of getting high-quality product testing in an efficient, cost-effective manner.  “This new cooperative business model approach provides a strategic opportunity to blood center owners and/or members by providing a level of control for a major, core function of our blood center operations,” said Nancy Eckert, President and CEO LifeSouth Community Blood Centers and member and chair of NBTC.

The founding blood center owners of NBTC are:  Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, Springfield MO; Kentucky Blood Center, Lexington KY; Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, Davenport IA; LifeServe Blood Center, Des Moines IA; LifeShare Blood Center, Shreveport LA; LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, Gainesville FL; Stanford Blood Center, Palo Alto CA; Suncoast Blood Bank, Sarasota FL and The Blood Center, New Orleans LA.

NBTC will have two testing facilities, one based in Atlanta, GA and the other on the West Coast.  NBTC will offer all infectious disease and confirmatory testing services, including Chagas and Babesia testing.  The West Coast location is currently performing testing services and the Atlanta operation, which will have capacity for more than 1.5 million tests annually, will begin testing services by end of year 2019.

“This cooperative approach is really the brainchild of several independent blood centers who desired a different path forward than the traditional testing arrangements that are available today.  We wanted an option to combat the rising costs associated with keeping our blood supply safe, while also providing a viable solution that helps us continue to remain an independent blood center,” said Stacy Sime, President and CEO LifeServe Blood Center, Member and Vice Chair of NBTC.

“Industry consolidation, particularly in the area of blood testing, creates a potential long-term economic concern for the free-market blood service industry. For the benefit of the entire industry, it is important to maintain healthy competition, and this innovative joint venture of blood centers allows for individual ownership of their testing labs but enables them to receive the economic benefits generally provided to large scale operations” said Dr. Judson Edwards, Dean of Sorrell College of Business and Associate Professor of Economics at Troy University, who studies the economics of the blood service industry.

Approaches to change the competitive landscape can be difficult to get off the ground because it requires working for the good of the group.  “It is truly rare to create something that is an industry disrupter.  The cooperative approach, which has worked well in our industry, now gives independent blood centers like mine a voice in the direction of blood testing and the control over the services that are needed for a safe blood supply,” said Billy Weales, President and CEO The Blood Center, member and treasurer of NBTC.

“When I became an owner of NBTC, the hard work of creating a model that is truly unique and game changing had already been completed; but also, what resonated with me was the fact that several different CEO’s had put aside their personal agendas to create this organization that will benefit our industry.  It was hard to not be impressed by what had been created and how it had been done.  I knew immediately that my blood center needed to be one of the founding members.” said Chad Douglas, President and CEO LifeShare Blood Center, member, and secretary of NBTC.

The NBTC ownership model makes it easy for blood centers to become NBTC owners.  Some owners are currently still operating their own testing laboratories and will continue to test until the Atlanta location is operational, while others are outsourcing testing and need to end those relationships.  We are pleased to have worked with Blood Centers of America (BCA) Cooperative during the contracting process.   NBTC was able to leverage the consolidation volume and maximize the contractual benefits under the BCA Donor Screening agreements.   “We understand the complex nature of testing agreements and relationships and are working individually with each new or potential new member to onboard them at the right times,” said Wendy Trivisonno, CEO/President of NBTC.  “I am looking forward to watching this cooperative grow with more NBTC members and seeing our community blood centers thrive with this new option,” said Trivisonno.