The Tri-Counties Blood Bank joined with United Blood Services of Ventura at the beginning of the month, creating a new system for collecting and delivering blood throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

The Santa Barbara-based Tri-Counties Blood Bank, which serves Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo Counties, consolidated its management with United Blood Services of Ventura in early April. The two blood banks have been sister organizations since they were both purchased by Blood Systems, Inc. in 1998, but they have been under different management and used different systems for blood distribution until now. Scott Edward, the community relations director for the Tri-Counties Blood Bank, said he believes the new system will increase both companies’ efficiency.

“We have previously been operating on two separate computer systems and with separate management,” Edward said. “Now we will use the same standard operating procedures.”

Edward said the decision to combine the two organizations was made in order to streamline the management of both companies, since they share the same owner.

“This is not a merger – in 1998, Tri-Counties Blood Bank and [United Blood Services of] Ventura were purchased by Blood Systems, Inc., so we’ve been sister organizations since 1998,” Edward said. “Now, basically, the management of the two blood banks has been shifted to a single group overseeing both organizations.”

Both the Tri-Counties Blood Bank and United Blood Services of Ventura will be known as United Blood Services from now on, Edward said. He said nothing else will change for either company.

“We’re not closing any donation sites, and there won’t be any impact on the local hospitals,” he said. “The only real change we’re going see is a change in the name.”

Center Director for United Blood Services of Ventura Susan Noone said this is a positive change for the blood bank’s internal operations, and she said she thinks the only difference donors will notice is the increased efficiency of both banks.

“We don’t expect there to be any change for donors or hospitals,” Noone said. “Basically, we’re just consolidating the management portions of our blood banks, which are both owned by Blood Systems, Inc. Hopefully, we’ll be able to better accommodate donors in the future.”