OMAHA — The Nebraska Community Blood Bank in Lincoln will be expanding efforts to collect and supply blood for two health care systems in the Omaha area.
Nebraska Medicine and Methodist Health System last month selected the Lincoln-based blood supplier to provide most of the blood their patients need under a new three-year contract.
The systems previously had arrangements with the American Red Cross as their main supplier.
Methodist and Nebraska Medicine officials have said they're trying to keep costs down while maintaining a safe blood supply for patients. But officials declined to provide further details about the contract.
Jill Orton, a regional chief executive officer for the Red Cross, said the national organization is disappointed by the contract change but understands it's a business decision.
"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," she said.
The Nebraska Community Blood Bank will now supply five Omaha-area hospitals operated by the health systems, including in Bellevue and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The blood supplier had recently opened an Omaha distribution center and plans to open a donation center at the location in the spring.
The blood bank is reaching out to local businesses, religious groups and individuals to host blood drives.
"We hope the community will support us in helping patients in need at those hospitals in Omaha," said Wendy Capetz, the blood bank's marketing director.
Most of the blood collected in Nebraska by the Nebraska Community Blood Bank stays in the state, Capetz said. The blood bank needs about 1,500 Nebraska donors every week to meet the needs of its facilities.
Methodist has two blood drives scheduled for next year, one with the Nebraska Community Blood Bank and the other with the Red Cross.