New Policy At Blood Center Charges For Your Own Blood - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/25/07-Tyler

New Policy At Blood Center Charges For Your Own Blood

We've all heard the saying "Blood Saves Lives" reminding us the importance of donating blood. But what if you wanted to donate your own blood for an upcoming surgery and were told it would cost you more than 400 dollars?

That's exactly what happened to one Tyler man, and the 10 people per month who do this same sort of thing and it could very well happen to you, all because of a new policy now in place.

Gary Price has been an insurance man in Tyler for 13 years so when his doctor told him to donate two pints of his own blood for insurance during an upcoming knee surgery, he looked into it.

"If you donate your own blood, the fee is 216," Gary explains.

It costs $216 per pint for a total of $432 for Gary to be given back his own blood.

"It just seems ridiculous that the cost be that high to donate your own blood," he says.

But to Gary, here's the kicker--the whole process used to be free.

"I just don't feel like that's right."

A change in policy that has him wondering how the price can go from zero to more than 200 dollars simply overnight?

"In the past, we shared the cost of collecting, testing, processing and preparing the unit for transfusion with the hospitals, but with the new policy, it helps relieve the burden of that cost for the blood center," says Laura Little with Carter BloodCare Stewart Center in Tyler

The Center says it all comes down to money.

"Absorbing that cost is a financial burden and it's not something that we can absorb anymore." she says.

The center says if the ear-tagged blood wasn't used, it had to be destroyed and they, along with the hospital, had to eat the cost.  Two hundred and sixteen dollars they no longer want to eat.

"They can do it cheaper," says Gary.

But for Gary, it's still too much.  He's decided he'll just stick with the free blood from the community blood pool.

The new policy went into effect October 1 and officials at the blood center say it has nothing to do with the purchase, several months ago, of the Stewart Blood Center by Carter BloodCare.

They say you can have blood donated on your behalf for only $30. That's cheaper because that blood can be used in the community blood bank if it's not needed during your surgery.

Tracy Watler, Reporting tracy@kltv.com

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