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PRC’s ‘fee’ clarified

/ 12:26 AM July 30, 2012

For clarification, may we request you to publish our response to the letter “‘Administrative fee’ of Red Cross?” by Walter P. Komarnicki (Inquirer, 7/21/12). Our sincere thanks to Komarnicki for his letter to the editor, and for donating his blood through the Australian Red Cross.
Each blood unit donated to Red Cross helps a save life. Blood itself is free as it comes from volunteer blood donors.

To ensure safe and quality blood, however, Red Cross needs reagents, blood bags and other supplies to test each unit of blood for transfusion-transmittable infections, namely: HIV, hepatitis B & C, malaria and syphilis. It also maintains blood service facilities and equipment for safe and proper blood collection, blood component preparation, labeling, storage and issuance.

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Red Cross also continues to advocate and promote voluntary blood donation.

All this requires costs. As a nonprofit, nongovernment and voluntary humanitarian organization that depends solely on public donations, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) needs to recover cost to continue its humanitarian services, including blood services.

We follow strictly the Department of Health standard. The financial requirements to ensure safe, quality and adequate supply of blood and blood products are relatively high, thus corresponding fees are authorized by the DOH.

The PRC blood processing fees are in conformance with DOH Administrative Order No. 181 series of 2002 and per unit are: P1,500 for whole blood, P1,100 for packed red cells, and P700 for the rest of component blood products such as platelets, frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate and cryosupernate.

Republic Act 7719, known as the Blood Services Act of 1994, mandates that blood service operation shall be on a nonprofit basis. Therefore, the amount of blood processing fee we are charging is allowed by law, and is way below the rate being charged by other blood bank operators. In fact, since we want to give the above standard blood services, Red Cross is subsidizing a big portion of our blood services expenses.

PRC Blood Services is certified with ISO 9001:2008, a certification for Quality Management System since 2010. Of the 35 DOH-designated Regional Blood Centers in the country, 21 are operated by the PRC and the rest are by the DOH and private hospitals.

For every voluntary blood donation, the PRC issues a blood donor card. Legitimate indigent or charity patients can be assisted through the Red Cross Blood Samaritan Program, which extends discounts or a 100-percent waiver of the blood processing fees. We need to raise funds to support the qualified indigent patients.

We hope this clarifies the “administrative fee” issue. Rest assured of our continued commitment to alleviate human suffering and save more lives.

—GWENDOLYN PANG,
secretary general,
Philippine Red Cross,
Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila

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TAGS: Blood Donations, PRC, PRC Blood Services, Red Cross
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