Author Topic: Idaho facility to end bone marrow program  (Read 228 times)

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Offline happyg

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Idaho facility to end bone marrow program
« on: December 30, 2013, 11:11:28 AM »

St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute is closing its bone marrow donor registry next month because it can't meet new standards that require adding hundreds of potential minority donors a year.


BOISE, Idaho —
St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute is closing its bone marrow donor registry next month because it can't meet new standards that require adding hundreds of potential minority donors a year.

New standards requiring that more than 500 potential new minority donors be signed up annually by the program were recently set by the National Marrow Donor Program based in Minneapolis.

There are too few donors to meet the needs of minorities facing life-threatening illnesses, so the national program upped goals for individual registries like the one at St. Luke's to try to remedy the shortfall. Bone marrow transplants can be effective treatments for patients suffering from such illnesses as leukemia and lymphoma.

"If you don't reach the goals, you are put on probation and terminated, so it seemed like the best way that we could do is give the program up and give it to another donor center," said Mark Allen, coordinator of the program in Boise.

National program officials did not immediately return telephone calls from The Associated Press on Thursday.

Allen said the demographics of southwest Idaho make it impossible to recruit that many minority donors. He said St. Luke's averages 1,000 donors annually, but only 10 percent of them are minorities.

"I think it's sad that we have to give it up, but the national requirements are so strict we can't continue with the program," Allen said.

St. Luke's has been running the program for 17 years. St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise closed its marrow donation program in April, also after 17 years.

Ellen Klohe, program director for the Inland Northwest Blood Center in Spokane, Wash., said operations could be extended to southwest Idaho but no decision had been made.

"We've been approached by St. Luke's to begin managing their file and take over the region," Klohe said, "but the National Marrow Donor Program makes the final decision."

She said the Inland Northwest center, which covers northern Idaho, Montana and Eastern Washington, already loses money on its program despite reimbursements from the national program.

More potential minority donors are being sought because only about 65 percent of minorities who need a bone marrow transplant find a match in the registry, compared with 85 percent of whites.

"The whole reason for the recruitment goals is to try to meet the needs of patients who currently don't have the same access," Klohe said.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2008098812_apidbonemarrowdonations2ndldwritethru.html


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