The AABB Interorganizational Task Force and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has revised the blood prioritization letter last updated in 2007. The letter signed by HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir, MD is a resource to be used by blood centers when working with state, territorial, tribal, and local emergency medical agencies to ensure the inclusion of blood in disaster emergency response planning efforts.
The letter states, “[b]lood and blood products are an essential treatment in trauma and are also needed to meet the needs of patients with chronic conditions. In the U.S., blood is typically collected, processed, and stored at regional non-profit blood centers and is distributed to hospitals on a daily or weekly basis…Our attention must be to maintain an adequate availability and accessibility of blood and blood products. I respectfully request your assistance in working with the community blood centers in your region to ensure that blood and blood products are available where and when they are needed in a disaster. This can be accomplished by inte-grating the community blood centers responsible for the collection and distribution of blood and blood products into your emergency management planning efforts, including the addition of blood-related scenarios in your drill and exercise programs.”
The complete letter can be viewed in MCN 19-035. The Task Force is also working on securing an updated letter from the Department of Homeland Security. During ABC’s 57th Annual Meeting, Admiral Giroir recognized the availability of safe blood products as a crucial part of the nation’s preparedness and response infra-structure and encouraged collaboration among all stakeholders. He also expressed his and HHS’ view on the importance of assuring the sustainability and safety of the U.S. blood supply, while saying that the agency is committed to finding ways to reach the next generation of blood donors and educate the public on the integral role of the blood supply to the national healthcare system.