Engel Leads Effort to Provide Support to Blood Centers

Congressman Eliot L. Engel is advocating for additional federal support for New York Blood Center in the next House coronavirus stimulus package. Engel helped lead a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to include assistance for blood centers in the next stimulus package, with 42 House Members joining him along with his co-leads, Reps. Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Rodney Davis (IL-13), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01).

“This pandemic has put a tremendous strain on every aspect of our health care system, including the devastating impact it has had on our nation’s blood centers,” Engel said. “Blood centers play a critical role in providing high-quality health care to New Yorkers. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, blood drives have been cancelled across the state, reducing the availability of blood and negatively affecting their finances. My colleagues and I are working to ensure that House Leadership provides additional support to blood centers in the next stimulus bill.”

“We applaud Congressman Engel for his leadership on this issue. New York Blood Center Enterprises and our fellow blood centers are vital to our nation’s healthcare infrastructure and at the forefront of delivering innovative COVID-19 initiatives. We are stretching our limited resources to respond to the unique demands of this crisis, including launching our first in the nation convalescent plasma program which has provided over 6,500 units to patients; starting animal studies of a novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccine; and scaling antibody testing to help drive our nation’s return to work initiative,” said Christopher D. Hillyer, MD – President and CEO of New York Blood Center Enterprises. “This relief funding will aid us in furthering breakthrough innovation, while continuing to meet the critical hospital and patient needs in our communities during the recovery. It is truly a matter of life and death.”

“Community blood centers have always ensured the availability of the nation’s blood supply for the patients that rely on America’s health care system. Now is no exception as community blood centers have mobilized to collect convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients. Unprecedented financial challenges however mean blood centers need Congress to provide immediate financial assistance to ensure their vital work will continue,” Kate Fry, the CEO of America’s Blood Centers.

New Yorkers looking to donate blood to the New York Blood Center should visit their website: https://www.nybc.org/donate-blood/

View a copy of the letter: Engel Not-For-Profit Blood Centers Letter