NO EXTRA CHARGE- Red Cross nixes pricier blood donation fees

A BLOOD donation drive of Red Cross-Iloilo in partnership with a private group. The Red Cross urged Iloilo towns to help shore up its blood bank supply amid allegations of higher processing fee and stringent requirements. (Photo from Red Cross-Iloilo FB page)

THE Philippine Red Cross (PRC)-Iloilo said its blood processing fee is based on a nationwide order of the Department of Health (DOH) which is also followed by government hospitals with blood banks.

PRC-Iloilo made the explanation after several Iloilo mayors claimed that it charges higher fees compared to Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

Dr. Dennis Roy Pasadilla, PRC-Iloilo blood center manager, said WVMC and Red Cross have the same blood processing fee in keeping with the DOH order.

“This is uniform and being implemented nationwide. And we do not ask for extra fees,” he said.

Pasadilla said if ever WVMC charges lower fees, it’s because of the subsidy it enjoys being a government-run hospital.

“Or it might also be that the blood banks that they use is cheaper compared to ours,” he said.

Under the DOH circular, the processing fee for whole blood is P1,800; P1,500 for packed red blood cells; and P1,000 for fresh frozen plasma.

 

REQUIREMENTS

Pasadilla also said that it is now easier to request blood from Red Cross because of their referral system.

Some mayors claimed they chose to donate blood to WVMC due to availability of blood and fewer requirements when they ask for supply.

Pasadilla said Red Cross only has three requirements – official blood request form of hospital, referral form of the mayor, and certificate of indigency (for poor folks).

Red Cross inked a memorandum of agreement with the provincial government with the latter shouldering the blood processing fee of indigent patients.

“Those who claim that they find it hard to get blood do not understand our system. And they are those who have not conducted blood donation drives with us,” he said.

He also said that blood can be availed within the day, especially during emergencies.

 

DIFFERENT LICENSES

Pasadilla stressed that Red Cross and WVMC operate using different licenses.

Red Cross is identified by DOH as the leading blood center and can network with public and private hospitals for the delivery of blood.

“We supply blood to the 12 district hospitals in Iloilo as well as private hospitals in the city,” he said.

Blood collected by WVMC is only exclusive for the hospital’s use, according to Pasadilla.

“Amo na ang wala naintindihan sang aton mga local chief executives nga basi mahambal sila parehas lang ang level sang Red Cross kag WVMC,” he said.

 

DONORS

Based on records of the Western Visayas Regional Blood Center, less than one percent of Iloilo’s total population donated blood in 2016.

Of the estimated 1,972,958 Ilonggos in the province, only 3,765 (0.19 percent) donated blood to Red Cross.

Red Cross requires that one percent of the total population must donate blood to ensure steady supply.

PRC records also indicated that six Iloilo towns – New Lucena, San Joaquin, San Miguel, San Rafael, and Zarraga – failed to donate blood to the Red Cross.

“That is why we appeal to each town to even just reach the one percent target for us to have sufficient supply,” he said.

Pasadilla said the current supply is stable because of the help of non-government units, schools, and civic organizations which regularly donate to Red Cross.

Supply among district hospitals is also stable, he added.

Pasadilla said they have scheduled blood drive activities in the succeeding weeks.

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