According to a filing with the Nebraska Department of Labor, the American Red Cross is closing its blood services call center in Omaha this autumn. All but three of the 138 employees will lose their jobs when the center closes.
The American Red Cross location in Omaha is one of three call centers used by the organization to contact donors. The other two call centers, located in Charlotte, North Carolina and Tucson, Arizona, are set to remain open.
“The decision to close this location was not an easy one, and was based on economic and geographic factors,” said Cliff Numark, Senior Vice President for blood services recruitment and field marketing. “Another factor has been an increase in online appointments.”
The closure comes at a time when the American Red Cross is dealing with what is being called a “blood emergency.”
Officials with the American Red Cross say they are facing a nationwide shortage and are using the call centers to make urgent calls (and sending mail and using social media) for much-needed donations.
Every day, the American Red Cross needs to collect around 14,000 units of blood to service patients at 2,600 hospitals across the nation. In May and June, it received 61,000 fewer donations across the U.S. than expected.
The shortfall is the equivalent of the Red Cross not receiving any blood donations for more than four days. Ideally, the organization prefers to have a five-day supply at all times, both for current patients and to be ready for emergencies that might require a significant volume of donated products. Right now, however, it has less than a five-day supply.
This represents a huge 36% shortfall over 2016, when the organization received 39,000 fewer donations between April and June.
One hurdle the American Red Cross is facing is the summer slowdown, especially during national holidays, like the Fourth of July. It is also more difficult to find public spaces to hold drives when schools are closed for summer vacation.
“WARN Report,” Nebraska Department of Labor, last accessed August 2, 2017.
“Blood shortage has Red Cross calling for more donations,” Boston Globe, August 2, 2017.
“American Red Cross is closing its Omaha call center,” Omaha World Herald, August 1, 2017.