GRAND RAPIDS — The organization that provides blood to most of the hospitals in Michigan took on a new name to create a single brand identity with sister centers in neighboring states.
Grand Rapids-based Michigan Blood became Versiti Blood Center of Michigan in mid January. The name change comes six years after Michigan Blood affiliated with Milwaukee, Wis.-based Versiti Inc.
By creating a similar name to its affiliates in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, the nonprofit Versiti seeks to operate as one organization across its footprint, said President and CEO Chris Miskel.
“What we’re really looking to do is create a unified identity, both within our organization and also our local communities,” Miskel said. “We think it’s real important for our hospital partners and the communities to recognize the strength of all the things we’re doing across our blood centers. By working together, we really can better serve patient needs, and so the rebranding allows us to do that.”
Formerly known as The Centers for Transfusion and Transplant Medicine until 2015, Versiti is “involved in all things blood,” Miskel said. Versiti provides blood to more than 200 hospitals in four states and plans to enter the Ohio market in July when it begins supplying The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Versiti’s services range from collecting blood donations at centers and through blood drives to providing transfusion medicine, blood products, consulting, diagnostics, blood-matching and genotyping services. As well, the company provides esoteric testing not routinely performed in clinical labs and pharmacy services.
Versiti also operates an institute in Wisconsin that conducts about $20 million a year in research funded by outside grants, a good portion of which come from the National Institutes for Health, Miskel said.
The organization launched an ad campaign on radio, television and billboards to promote the name change.
Having a single brand across its footprint eliminates occasional confusion among clients who did not always make the connection between Versiti blood centers in each state, Miskel said.
“At times, it can create some confusion. As we’re growing, we want to create that clarity,” he said. “By unifying the brand, it’s more to create the strength of all the things that our single entity means to the community.”
Versiti Blood Center of Michigan operates eight blood-donation centers in Grand Rapids, Grandville, Portage, St. Joseph, Saginaw, Bay City, Midland and Traverse City, plus a bone marrow registry. Versiti collects about 150,000 pints of blood annually and serves as the primary supplier of blood and blood products annually to 69 hospitals in the state, said Dawn Kaiser, Michigan site leader.
Blood collected in each market predominately stays there, Kaiser said.
Affiliating with Versiti in 2013 provided the Michigan operations “a really deep bench” and access to greater expertise, Kaiser said. For example, the affiliation has been particularly helpful by offering a larger network to access when a hospital requires a rare blood type for a patient.
“Every day, we’re moving blood across the enterprise,” Kaiser said. “We can be very specialized in what our hospitals need.”