Hospitals Move Forward in Venice Facilities



Major legal hurdles got cleared last week by Sarasota Memorial Hospital and by Venice Regional Bayfront Health to open new hospitals in the Venice area. Presuming the state Agency for Health Care Administration issues final approvals in the next few weeks, the full-scale hospitals could be up and running within a few years.

Sarasota Memorial plans to open a new hospital on Laurel Road by the Interstate-75 exit. “We’re at capacity on patients at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. We need to have facilities down there,” said David Verinder, CEO for SMH. “Sarasota Memorial has a mandate to take care of the population of Sarasota County.” Right now, many patients drive from North Port or Venice to come to the main SMH hospital in Sarasota. All those patients live in the taxing district for the public hospital, Verinder notes, and they deserve to have the hospital brand and services in the region.

The new hospital will have full service from an emergency room to a maternity ward. While SMH already runs a free-standing emergency room in North Port and has urgent care facilities throughout the county, the new hospital brings baby delivery services to south Sarasota County for the first time, and surgical procedures that once required a drive to Sarasota will be available in the new facility. In total, the community hospital will have 90 acute care beds and 20 observation beds, a 25-room emergency care center, 10 labor/delivery/recovery rooms and an obstetrics operating room, among numerous other services.

Hospital spokeswoman Kim Savage says the new hospital should open in 2021 and will treat 4,883 medical and surgical patients and 768 OB patients. The hospital expects 60 percent of Sarasota County results to live in South Sarasota County at the time this hospital opens.

The same day an administrative law judge recommended approval for the SMH facility on Laurel, the judge also recommended approval for Venice Regional Bayfront Health to open a new acute care hospital on Jacaranda Boulevard at Venice Avenue. Hospital officials expect to move most operations into the new facility. “The need for a replacement hospital was well-documented, undisputed and strongly supported by the community,” said Bob Hite, Venice Regional marketing director. “We are anxious to receive AHCA’s final decision and look forward to moving forward with this important project."

Rendering courtesy SMH: Sarasota Memorial Hospital plans its hospital on property at Laurel Road and Interstate-75.

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