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Why We Do What We Do

The Value of a Public Hospital

Nearly 100 years ago, our community came together to found Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Today, it is one of the largest public health systems in the country, providing nationally acclaimed care to patients across the Suncoast. From day one, Sarasota Memorial’s mission has been to meet the evolving health care needs of our community and we are proud to offer the greatest depth and breadth of health care services in the region.

Sarasota Memorial also has remained dedicated to providing the highest quality of care and has been repeatedly recognized for its superior performance. Indeed, it is the only hospital in Florida, and one of only 33 in the nation, that has consistently earned a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services since the federal rating program began in 2016.

For an overview of Sarasota Memorial's network of services, national honors and latest projects to enhance the community's access to care, click here for the health system's 2024 Community Update.

Serving Local Health Needs

Led by our publicly elected Sarasota County Public Hospital Board, Sarasota Memorial efficiently and effectively devotes resources to ensuring the greatest benefit is delivered to the community. As private hospitals have eliminated critical services over the years or chosen not to offer essential programs, Sarasota Memorial continues to develop and maintain facilities and services to deliver comprehensive, award-winning inpatient and outpatient care for local residents.


Sarasota Memorial is the only health system in Sarasota County to provide:

Sarasota Memorial also has an unwavering commitment to ensuring that everyone in our community has access to high-quality medical care. We are proud to serve as the region’s safety net hospital, delivering the lion’s share of inpatient Medicaid and charity care.

Among these programs is our Community Specialty Clinic, which has provided free, lifesaving care to eligible uninsured and underinsured patients for 30 years.

Accountability, Governance & Transparency

As the region’s only public health system, Sarasota Memorial is unique in placing decision-making power in the hands of local residents.

Our operations and priorities are directly accountable to the local communities we serve. In comparison, other hospitals in the region are investor-owned and governed by distant corporate headquarters, with the community having little say in their oversight and operations.

Our health system is governed by the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board, comprised of nine unpaid, publicly elected citizens who set the strategic direction of Sarasota Memorial and provide independent oversight. The wider community also plays an active role in hospital governance through participating in public meetings, serving on committees and contributing to our efforts to strengthen quality and access in local health care.

As a public entity, Sarasota Memorial and its Board have enhanced transparency requirements, including compliance with Florida’s “Government in the Sunshine” laws and the Florida Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees.


As a non-profit public health system, with rigorous fiscal management policies in place, Sarasota Memorial has strong financial foundations which enable us to invest revenues back into the community, maintaining and developing services and facilities that improve care throughout the region. Our community has a leading role in determining where and how investments are made, ensuring they align with local needs and priorities.

Sarasota Memorial’s finances are stewarded by the elected Sarasota County Public Hospital Board. Our independently audited financial statements are publicly accessible on our website here.

Sarasota County Public Hospital District Taxing Authority

As representatives of the Sarasota County Public Hospital District, the Board oversees the District’s independent taxing authority, setting the annual ad valorem property tax rate. This transparent process includes two public hearings where local residents are able to provide input before the Board votes on the final rate. The Board has not raised the tax rate in more than a decade and reduced it in 2017.

Community Specialty Clinic

Our community’s annual support through tax dollars helps bring about tangible improvements to health care in the region and has been essential to making Sarasota Memorial the nation-leading hospital it is today. While tax revenue makes up only about 5% of Sarasota Memorial’s annual revenues, it has a material impact in allowing our health system to continue to meet the ever-shifting health needs of the entire community.

In 2023, tax dollars helped offset a portion of the $284 million in costs of essential mission services and community programs such as our Community Specialty Clinic, around-the-clock specialty care for emergency and hospitalized patients, charity care and other mission programs. Tax dollars also helped offset a portion of $197 million invested in facility and equipment upgrades in 2023 to enhance patient care throughout the region.

Tax revenue is also essential to strengthen Sarasota Memorial’s resilience as an anchor institution and ensure we are able to provide for unanticipated expenditures, meet annual increases in staffing costs and address urgent local health needs.

Paving the Way to a Healthier Community

In recent years, Sarasota Memorial embarked on several of the most transformative projects in our nearly century of service, investing more than $1.2 billion in new world class facilities and local centers of care, providing the care local people need, where they need it. This work includes:

Value of a Public Hospital

  • Expanding health services in South Sarasota County: Sarasota Memorial Hospital - Venice opened in 2021and our health system will soon extend further south, with plans to develop new medical campuses in North Port.
  • Meeting the growing demand for mental health care: Our new Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion, which opened in late 2023, provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient mental health services tailored to patients of all ages.
  • Building hope for cancer patients: Our state-of-the-art Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute provides a level of cancer care and support found only at the nation’s best oncology centers. Following the opening of our Radiation Oncology Center in 2020 and Oncology and Surgical Tower in 2021, our outpatient Cancer Pavilion is under construction and set to open 2025.