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.
BloodSource entered the Sonoma County market around the same time, with a bloodmobile taking donations at various locations. Last week, BloodSource dedicated its newest blood donation center in a 7,200-square-foot former furniture store location in northwest Santa Rosa.
Initially, it will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and the first Saturday of each month, Botos said. The bloodmobile program will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
In addition to whole blood, BloodSource in Santa Rosa takes donations of blood platelets, which help control bleeding. The blood bank hopes to get 6,000 donations in Santa Rosa this year, Botos said.
BloodSource's Santa Rosa operation is directed by Devon Roupe Bazzano, a former Redwoods donor services manager. The staff includes three phlebotomists and two registered nurses.
BloodSource serves 26 counties in Northern and Central California with 17 donation centers. It supplies 40 hospitals, with the nearest in Solano County.
Officials at BloodSource and Blood Centers of the Pacific said they don't foresee problems with two blood banks serving the same community.
"As long as people are donating blood, that's what's important," said Don Burghardt, donor recruitment director at Blood Centers of the Pacific.
"It gives donors an option," said Botos. "It's really good for the community."
You can reach Staff Writer Steve Hart at 521-5205 or email@example.com.