New Blood Provider Moves Into Valley

United Blood Services uses donations to provide blood for area hospitals

By Molly Priddy

United Blood Services has moved into an Evergreen office and will now be the blood provider for Kalispell’s hospital.

As of April, Kalispell Regional Medical Center has been working with United Blood Services for the hospital’s various blood needs. As of July 1, the company will also be the blood provider at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, according to Tesia Hummer, marketing and communications specialist with United Blood Services.

“We are the only blood provider to more than 30 hospitals across Montana,” Hummer said. “We rely on a little more than 100 donors each day to make sure there’s a blood supply for all of Montana.”

The job of a community’s blood provider is to be responsible for maintaining and ensuring a safe blood supply for those who need it. United Blood Services is a nonprofit community blood center, and part of a larger national organization, Blood Systems.

United Blood Services relies on volunteers to keep the blood supply ample and diverse; FDA regulations stipulate that a person cannot be paid for blood that is going to be transfused into another person.

But volunteers can enter for daily and weekly giveaways, Hummer said; one such weekly promotion was a $300 coffee gift card.

“We can’t pay you, but we can do something to say thank you,” Hummer said.

Blood donated in the Flathead could stay local and help a neighbor in need, she said, or it could go to a major disaster elsewhere. When the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas occurred, leaving hundreds injured, the blood centers there were overwhelmed with need.

Hummer said center from her region — including Washington, Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas — sent blood to help.

“I believe we sent more than 100 units,” she said.

The goal is to keep each blood center replenished with what it needs, she said. Summer proves to be a tough time for blood donations because people are usually busy with vacations or other activities, but it’s also the time when blood is needed the most.

Anyone interested in donating blood can do so at United Blood Services’ location at 2593 U.S. Highway 2, Suite 1 in Evergreen.

“When people are donating they’re supporting their community blood supply,” Hummer said.

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