The American Red Cross has plans to eliminate 230 jobs as part of a “tentative decision” to limit operations in the Great Lakes Blood Services Region.

Chris Hrouda, President of the American Red Cross Biomedical Services, says the decision to limit operations involves mainly mobile blood drives in the Great Lakes Blood Service Region starting in November 2018. He says the impacted region includes Lansing, Muskegon, Petoskey, Flint, Kalamazoo and Kentwood/Grand Rapids but the changes would not affect the availability of Red Cross blood products in Michigan. Hrouda says the Red Cross will continue to collect blood donations at its two fixed sites in Flint and Lansing, as well as their Southeast Michigan Blood Services Region, located in Detroit. It’s unclear how the decision could impact Livingston County, which is part of the Mid-Michigan Region, as the organization is only releasing a “reactive media statement”, which is attached.

As part of the transition, approximately 230 Red Cross employee positions would be eliminated. He says they deeply regret the loss of jobs and know the changes would affect the lives of employees and their families, adding the Red Cross is committed to doing the most it can to help make the proposed transition as smooth as possible, including reaching out to area employers to help affected employees find new jobs.

The decision was said to be made in response to a continued industry-wide decline in the demand for blood products and the need for consolidation of operations to ensure the organization can deliver cost-effective and reliable products and services for patients in need. Hrouda says the changes would allow the organization to focus its Biomedical Services in other geographies that generate more concentrated efficiencies and a better economic profile but stressed the Red Cross will continue its lifesaving mission in Michigan.

Hrouda says "In addition to providing blood products for people in need, our focus on providing disaster preparedness and response activities, our services to military members, veterans and their families, and our ongoing health and safety trainings throughout Michigan remain just as robust. During fiscal year 2018, the Red Cross in Michigan responded to more than 2,200 disasters and mobilized nearly 6,000 volunteers who contributed to our mission.” (JM)