A second blood bank has opened in Santa Rosa, spurring competition for blood donors and hospital contracts in a major realignment of Sonoma County's blood bank system.
BloodSource, a large regional company headquartered in Sacramento, is taking blood donations at its newest location, 3505 Industrial Drive.
It will compete with Blood Centers of the Pacific, a San Francisco-based nonprofit agency that last year acquired Blood Bank of the Redwoods, the region's primary blood provider for 63 years.
Redwoods closed last July, three years after the Santa Rosa-based blood bank lost its largest contract. St. Joseph Health System-Sonoma County, which generated a quarter of the company's annual revenues, switched to Pacific in 2008 to reduce costs.
Pacific now supplies blood to all of the hospitals in Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties.
But BloodSource will be bidding on those contracts when they expire, said Leslie Botos, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento nonprofit agency.
"We look forward to our continued growth in the area," she said.
BloodSource, with an annual budget of $93 million, collects 250,000 units of blood each year. Pacific has a $65 million budget and gets 115,000 units annually. Together, they serve nearly 100 Northern California hospitals.
<NO1><NO>Last March, Redwoods agreed to merge with Pacific, the Bay Area's largest blood bank, which supplies more than 50 hospitals. Pacific is part of Blood Systems Inc., the nation's second-largest nonprofit blood organization.
About half of Redwoods' employees lost their jobs in the merger. Pacific opened a donation center in August at Redwoods' former headquarters in Santa Rosa.