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Statement on AABB’s National Blood Exchange

8 August 2012

Philip D. Schiff, JD, AABB, Division Director, Operations and Business Development

AABB is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the field of transfusion medicine and cellular therapies. The association is committed to improving health by developing and delivering standards, accreditation and educational programs that focus on optimizing patient and donor care and safety. AABB membership consists of nearly 2,000 institutions and 8,000 individuals, including physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers, administrators, medical technologists and other health care providers. AABB members are located in more than 80 countries.

As part of its mission to improve health, AABB supports the sharing of blood resources through the association’s National Blood Exchange, or NBE, program to help ensure hospitals have sufficient quantities to meet their anticipated needs. Established in 1953, the NBE helps blood centers send surplus blood to areas where quantities are low but demand is high to maintain an adequate nationwide supply overall. The NBE has linked the patient care community during emergencies and disasters to identify critical blood resources and ship them to where they are needed most.

Reaching out to all blood centers, the NBE provides an important and valuable service to the transfusion medicine field. Its nationwide network of blood facilities has enabled it to become the primary resource-sharing program in the United States. Each year, the NBE coordinates the distribution of more than 185,000 units of blood and blood components.

An important distinguishing feature of the NBE is that it is a not-for-profit operation and has a minimal processing fee. This allows it to help hospitals and blood centers not only maintain an effective blood inventory, but also keep costs down in this challenging financial climate. Additionally, the NBE limits blood centers’ liability by paying the shippers of units within 30 days and billing the receivers itself. Through this method, blood centers do not have to spend time and resources collecting payment.
 
NBE representatives are available 24 hours a day/seven days a week to assist facilities with their blood-shortage problems and surplus challenges. This team of professionals also can provide trend analysis based on the NBE’s unique perspective on the supply of blood around the nation and long history of coordinating the sharing of this vital resource.
 
For more information on the NBE, individuals are invited to visit www.aabb.org/nbeprogram or contact a representative at nbe@aabb.org or +1.800.458.9388.