ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Several Blood Bank of Alaska employees have filed a federal complaint accusing the blood bank’s leadership of mismanagement and financial impropriety since the organization moved into its $45 million facility earlier this year.
The Aug. 28 complaint filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the blood bank’s missteps have resulted in dangerous donor conditions and shortages, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported (http://bit.ly/2cbKICp). Blood bank representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
BBA entered into an agreement with California blood center Lifestream to export 100 units of blood per week after moving into its new building in May.
Linda Soriano, the blood bank’s former development manager, says the organization has been struggling with shortages since the move while trying to meet the needs of Alaska and California.
“The irony is that BBA could have built a $33M facility that was right-sized for Alaska’s needs and moved into it debt free,” Soriano said in an email. “All of the corner cutting, exporting and lack of financial transparency could have been avoided if we hadn’t gone forward with the Taj Mahal of blood banks.”
The blood bank’s 57,000-square-foot building was funded with almost $33 million from the state capital budget, an $8.5 million loan from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and a $3 million donation from ConocoPhillips.
Blood bank board members and CEO Bob Scanlon have previously said the export agreement with LifeStream has no connection to the building’s finances and that blood supply to Alaska hospitals hasn’t been affected.
Soriano and several BBA employees claim they warned Alaska’s largest hospitals — Alaska Regional Hospital, Providence Medical Center, and Alaska Native Medical Center Hospital — of the shortage.
The complaint claims the blood bank could not fill an order for Providence when it had its May 20 grand opening because too much blood had been shipped to California the day before.
But Mikal Canfield, a Providence spokesman, said in an email that the blood blank “has consistently provided uninterrupted service to Providence Alaska Medical Center, including during its recent move into a new building.”
Gov. Bill Walker visited the Blood Bank of Alaska on Sept. 1 to donate a pint and proclaimed the month of September the Alaska Blood Drive and Donation Challenge Month.
The Food and Drug Administration told Soriano it had received the employees’ complaint, but said it is not able to comment on ongoing investigations.
Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce, http://www.alaskajournal.com