March 19, 2020

Around the nation: American Red Cross faces 'severe blood storage'

Daily Briefing

    Chris Hrouda, the Red Cross' president of biomedical services, said, "In really good times we may have five days of inventory available for our hospital clients and now we're running at a day or day-and-a-half in some cases," in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

    • District of Columbia: The American Red Cross, which supplies about 40% of the United States' blood supply, said 2,700 blood drives across the United States were canceled as of Tuesday as a result of social distancing amid the new coronavirus pandemic. The cancelations have caused a "severe blood storage," NPR reports. Chris Hrouda, the Red Cross' president of biomedical services, said, "In really good times we may have five days of inventory available for our hospital clients and now we're running at a day or day-and-a-half in some cases." As a result, the organization has begun shipping about 25% less blood to hospitals than ordered, and officials are calling on Americans to donate blood by contacting and visiting blood donation centers (Brady, NPR, 3/17).

    • Pennsylvania: Rite Aid during an investor meeting on Monday announced plans to rebrand the company's pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), now known as EnvisionRxOptions, as Elixir. Under the rebrand, Rite Aid hopes to attract new middle-market clients and possibly acquire other PBMs. Rite Aid said the rebrand is intended to help keep its PBM competitive as a standalone business as it faces growing competition from PBMs owned by large health insurers (Anderson, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/17).

    • WashingtonStarbucks has announced it will offer all employees 20 no-cost therapy sessions annually as part of a larger mental health benefit plan for the company. Beginning on April 6, all Starbucks employees will be able to use their pool of 20 therapy sessions either in person with a counselor or via video chat. Employees also will have unlimited access to apps like Lyra Health, which connects users to mental health services (Thomas, Wall Street Journal, 3/16).
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