URBANA — Community Blood Services of Illinois is moving ahead with plans to merge with a not-for-profit blood center based in Davenport, Iowa.
The merger is expected to be completed after regulatory approval, with those processes expected to be completed in November, the two organizations said Tuesday.
After the merger, the Urbana-based Community Blood Services of Illinois — also not for profit — will become a division of the much larger Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.
The Iowa blood center is the exclusive provider of blood products and services to 75 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Community Blood Services will continue to supply the five East Central Illinois hospitals it has been serving. All 71 of its employees will be retained, the organization said.
Pat Kovar, Community Blood Services president and CEO, said blood centers are merging to serve a changing hospital market, and this merger will also help contain costs and provide long-term stability.
Also, he said, by becoming part of a larger, regional blood center that serves dozens of communities in the area, the Urbana blood center will be in a better position to respond to fluctuations in blood supply, particularly those caused by weather situations.
The Urbana blood center should also be able to increase the efficiency of its blood component production, he said.
As part of the merger plans, the blood center's infectious disease testing of blood donations will move to Midwest Regional Blood Testing Services, a laboratory within the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center headquarters, to increase volume there and lower costs.
The Iowa blood center handles more than 240,000 units of blood components from more than 160,000 volunteer donations a year.
Last year, it merged with Springfield-based Central Illinois Community Blood Center. Those two blood centers combined now collect blood at 15 fixed donor centers and through more than 3,500 mobile blood drives a year, according to the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.