Ever wonder how much your blood is really worth? Or, (as I did) ever wonder how much that yellow bag of blood platelets really costs? This ran in the Kansas City Business Journal on Friday. Being that I've had probably more than my fair share of blood transfusions and platelet transfusions during my lifetime, I found it very interesting.
Increased testing fuels blood's accelerating costs
Rising prices make $4 gas look anemic by comparison
Kansas City Business Journal - by Rob Roberts Staff Writer
Dave Kaup KCBJ
Dr. Jay Menitove, executive director and medical director of the Community Blood Center, chats with Dan Hiatt, the first donor of the day. CBC's costs have tripled the past 10 years.View Larger
If you think $4-a-gallon gasoline is pricey, imagine refueling with a fluid that costs hundreds of times more.
The Community Blood Center of Kansas City's hospital clients are paying more than $2,600 a gallon for red blood cells, somewhat less for frozen plasma and substantially more for platelets.
The CBC's price for a unit (about 300 milliliters) of red blood cells has nearly tripled to $211 from $77 a decade ago, said Dr. Jay Menitove, the nonprofit center's executive director and medical director. But none of the 73 hospitals CBC supplies in a 70-county trade area is screaming bloody murder because they know that rising prices are tied to government testing mandates.
"We now do 15 different tests on every unit that's donated," said Menitove, who noted that the most recent test, for Chagas' disease, added $7.50 to the per-unit costs last year.
For The University of Kansas Hospital, which uses about 16,000 red cell units annually, it all adds up to a blood bill of more than $5 million a year, said Dr. Lowell Tilzer, medical director for the hospital's clinical laboratory.