SARASOTA (May 8, 2018) — Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has cleared a major hurdle in its effort to build a new hospital in the Venice community (Sarasota Memorial Hospital – Laurel Road). Today, an administrative law judge recommended that Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) give final approval to Sarasota Memorial's plan to open the new facility with 90 acute-care beds on Laurel Road.
The ruling in SMH’s favor affirms AHCA’s preliminary decision to approve the new hospital and rejects challenges from local for-profit hospitals. AHCA and the judge agreed that SMH’s new facility will not only greatly improve south county residents’ access to high-quality, affordable care, but that it also will ease congestion and capacity challenges at its main hospital campus in Sarasota. SMH has seen unprecedented growth in patient volumes in recent years.
AHCA is expected to give final approval to the new hospital in the coming weeks. While it awaits this last step, Sarasota Memorial is proceeding with initial site plans so it can meet its goal to open the new facility in approximately three years.
“We’d like to thank the many community members and leaders, physicians, employees and businesses who wrote letters of support for our new facility,” said SMH CEO David Verinder. “Soon, patients from south county who currently must travel to our main campus will be able to obtain care at a convenient, state-of-the-art hospital close to home.
"In addition, the new hospital will bring SMH's large physician base further south, which will help build up the medical community in North Port and support SMH’s efforts to establish a hospital there as well."
Verinder said SMH is looking forward to hosting neighborhood meetings and working with the city of Venice to develop a campus plan that will serve the community well for decades to come.
About Sarasota Memorial
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 900,000 patient visits each year. Its flagship 829-bed, acute-care hospital has been consistently recognized as one of the nation’s largest and best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services – from urgent care, trauma and emergency services to laboratory and diagnostic imaging, home health, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. SMH is the only hospital in Florida to have consistently earned the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ highest five-star quality award since the rating system launched in 2016.