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Marsh chosen as sole blood provider for Ballad

Matthew Lane • Aug 18, 2018 at 6:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Marsh Regional Blood Center has been named the sole provider of blood and blood products for Ballad Health.

Ballad officials discussed the matter on Thursday, saying as part of the merger’s due diligence, blood was one of the items on the list for review.

Brad Price, vice president of administrative and support services, said Ballad had a national healthcare firm review the blood-providing service the company was receiving from Marsh, Blood Assurance and Medic (of Knoxville).

“They looked at utilization, collection, the different capacities and the short- and long-term goals we had,” Price said. “As we worked through all of that ... ultimately we felt like Marsh would be able to meet those needs for Ballad moving forward.”

Marsh has been the largest hometown supplier of blood and blood products in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia for 70 years, serving 17 medical facilities, four cancer centers and four air rescue aircraft. Wellmont Health Systems owned the company for years and now with the merger, the company falls under Ballad.

Ballad’s decision means that Marsh will be serving nine more medical facilities.

And though the announcement was made this week, the switch to Marsh at all Ballad facilities will not be immediate. There will be a transition period, Price said.

“Part of that transition will require a good hand-off process. I’ve been in touch with the leadership of both (Blood Assurance and Medic) and we want to make sure all of our patients’ needs are met,” Price said, adding the average person won’t notice any difference when coming for treatment.

“When you donate here, we want to use that blood here. When your friends and family make a donation, we want them to know it benefits their friends and family who are in our hospitals.”

To meet the need of 100 units of blood per day, Marsh holds 650 mobile blood drives at local high schools, businesses and colleges every year, including drives with 47 high schools and 21 colleges and vocational schools throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

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