United Blood Services Closing Bonita Collection Site

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Meridian, Miss. In less than a month, blood donors in Meridian won't have a fixed place to go donate blood. Due to the economy, and the way hospitals have started handling blood to save money, the need has declined, and United Blood Services Director JW Chapman says the decision to close was tough, but necessary.

"We're seeing a decline in blood usage through hospitals as they try to reduce their costs, so this is one step for our organization to become more efficient in the services we provide."

The closure will result in 22 employees being laid off, but they will be able to apply for other jobs within the company. Meridian's lab and distribution center will remain open, and that means there shouldn't be any effect on the local blood supply.

"We have a laboratory that processes units of blood coming from Hattiesburg and Tupelo. We have a distribution center here that we will use to make sure that the hospitals in the area still have the products that they need on their shelves, and also keep in mind that we have mobile blood units."

It's those mobile units, or "Bloodmobiles" as they're commonly referred to, that will now be solely responsible for collecting blood in Meridian. One way to get the Bloodmobiles in Meridian more often is for businesses to schedule blood drives.

"We try to schedule at least 12 weeks out, so if there are any business in the area, and they're interested in scheduling a blood drive, they can call the center here at (601) 482-2482, and we will get them set up with a recruiter to schedule that blood drive."

Collections at the Bonita Lakes location will continue as normal through November First.