Our program featured Pete Castagna who is the head of Miller-Keystone Blood Center. The Center is a division of Hospital Central Services. HCSC also provides linen rental programs to virtually all the Valley’s hospitals. Miller Memorial Blood Center opened in 1971 on the campus of Muhlenberg Hospital to fill a need for a centralized blood program. The organization merged with Keystone in 2001. They now serve 35 hospitals in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. MKBC employs more than 200 people and utilizes over 300 volunteers. They have over 250,000 donors on file; 20% of whom donate at least once per year.
Only 38% of the US population is eligible to donate and only 4% of eligible people actually donate. This means that all blood donations come from less than 2% of the population. Every blood product that is collected goes through comprehensive screening for infectious diseases and cholesterol. The transfused products have a limited shelf life from 45 days for whole blood to as little as 3 days for platelets. We are fortunate in the Valley to have an active core of donors with over 6,000 residents with lifetime donation totals in excess of 5 gallons.
MKBC maintains 19 blood mobiles, 6 donor centers, and 13 satellite locations. The blood mobiles allow for donor drives at hospitals, churches, schools, and corporate sites. The online screening and registration program has been popular with younger donors. A new are of focus is convalescent plasma which has proven to be effective in treatment of COVID-19 patients. MKBC plans to celebrate their 50thanniversary with a gala on April 7, 2022 at the Homewood Suites in Center Valley.