Today, we find the center in spin mode — trying out a P.R. strategy that's so much of a stretch, it might pop.
No sale?But first, let's check the spin cycle.
Faced with mounting criticism about FBC's spending excess — on everything from salaries to luxury-hotel stays — center officials are now claiming they don't benefit by selling blood.
In fact, FBC claims it doesn't sell anything.
Sure, they may charge hospitals $320 or more for a pint of blood and all of its assorted parts. But that, they say, is simply reimbursement for incurred costs.
"Blood is not bought and sold like a commodity or product," FBC President and CEO Anne Chinoda wrote in a message to donors. "Hospitals reimburse us for our costs of collecting, testing, processing, storing and distributing blood."
Well, good news, Sentinel readers! We've decided we're no longer going to "sell" newspapers either.
We're just going to ask you to "reimburse" us for the cost of collecting and distributing our product (information), which has been donated as well. The "reimbursement" will cost you a buck at the corner store.
If we continue to follow the blood centers' lead — and claim we provide a valuable service (which we do) without selling anything for "profit" — we can avoid taxes, too!
This will free up all kinds of money for us to spend the same way the blood bank does. We can jack up the salaries and compensation packages for needy columnists and deserving editors. (Chinoda's topped out at nearly $600,000.)
We can afford to take a lot more trips. (FBC spent $807,000 on travel in 2006 — including $52,000 on a retreat at the Ritz-Carlton.)
And we could get people on our board of directors who can then vote to give each other's companies millions of dollars in contracts and deals — again, just like the blood bank does.
OK, so maybe all that won't work. But maybe all those numbers help paint a clearer picture about some of the root causes of our country's health-care crisis — spending and costs are out of control.
Just ask Julia Doyle.
The 66-year-old donated blood all of her professional life while she was employed by General Motors in Detroit. She had health insurance, too.
But then she moved down here a few years ago — after her GM insurance ran out and before she was old enough to qualify for Medicare — and could not find anyone to insure her because of a pre-existing condition.