As ShorePoint Venice Shuts Down, SMH-Venice Steps Up

Business

As ShorePoint Health Venice shutters its hospital, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is flexing its team and facilities to meet the community’s increased demand for care. ShorePoint’s abrupt announcement last month that it would close the city’s oldest hospital left many patients and their doctors only days to find new specialists and facilities to provide not only emergency, inpatient and surgical care, but also essential outpatient care and procedures, including rehabilitation therapy for people recovering from illness and injuries, infusion therapy for people battling cancer and bariatric and interventional radiology procedures. It also left hundreds of healthcare workers looking for new jobs. When Sarasota Memorial learned of the looming closure on Aug. 22, just one week before that hospital shut down its ER, SMH leaders began taking aggressive steps to prepare for the increasing number of patients seeking care at SMH-Venice. Those measures included: Reconfiguring and converting administrative space and waiting and reception areas to add more triage and treatment rooms to its emergency care center; Hiring additional staff across its health system, including nearly 100 from ShorePoint; Meeting with EMS and patient care teams at its Venice, North Port and Sarasota campuses, and network of urgent care centers to streamline processes and help ensure patients in Venice and the surrounding community have timely access to urgent and emergency care, as close to home as possible; Expanding hours and diagnostic services at its network of imaging and outpatient centers, and adding outpatient rehabilitation services at Sarasota Memorial Health Care Center at Blackburn Point, to help serve patients from Venice and south county who need outpatient rehabilitation care; Expediting construction that will double SMH-Venice’s capacity to care for patients. The first phase, a new patient care tower that will add 68 more beds, will be complete in 2024, followed soon after by the expansion of the ER, diagnostic imaging and surgery areas; Moving forward with plans to build a new hospital in North Port and develop a comprehensive medical campus on land it owns in nearby Wellen Park. In the interim, SMH leaders continue to explore every option to expand emergency services in Venice. SMH made several attempts in the past few weeks to talk with corporate executives at ShorePoint Health about options that could keep the Venice hospital’s ER open on a temporary basis, including a short-term lease that would allow SMH to care for patients in ShorePoint Venice’s ER. For information about SMH services or help finding a doctor, call SMH HealthLine at (941) 917-7777.

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