By Earle Kimel, Staff Writer, Herald Tribune
Posted Feb 26, 2019 at 9:38 AM
New Sarasota Memorial Hospital Venice campus to open with 110 beds is being designed for almost triple that capacity.
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System will start moving earth within the next two weeks and plans an April 4 groundbreaking for its new hospital at the southeast intersection of Laurel and Pinebrook roads in Venice.
SMH President & CEO David Verinder broke that news Monday evening to about 700 people at the Venetian Golf and River Club Community Association Town Hall Meeting.
Verinder said the hospital should open with 90 private rooms for acute care patients and 20 private rooms for patients under observation, advanced surgical suites, and a variety of services including obstetrics, as well as cardiac services, orthopedics, oncology and a community specialty clinic.
“People ask me all the time, ‘Are 110 beds going to be enough?’ I’ll tell you, no, it’s not,” Verinder said. “We know it, but it’s what we could get through the state originally, through the court system. “After it’s built, we’re able to expand it from there and do it without the whole” state certificate-ofneed process, requiring health providers to prove a need before getting approval to build a facility, he added.
SMH, which bought the 65-acre parcel in 2005, received a certificate of need for the hospital from the Agency For Health Care Administration in December 2016 — the same day Venice Regional Bayfront Health received approval to build a replacement campus for its aging facility on the island of Venice.
Each hospital challenged the other’s application through the court system and both were eventually approved last April.
The Venice campus will be Sarasota Memorial’s first satellite hospital in its 94-year existence. Initially, 700 people will work at the facility.
Eventually, between 400 and 500 physicians would be on staff at the hospital. Some of those would be doctors in medical groups that expand south, while others would be new hires recruited to the area.
“They don’t even work in Sarasota or Southwest Florida right now,” he added.
Most of the two-hour town hall meeting focused on items of interest to residents of the Venetian Golf & River Club.
The topic generating the most buzz involves the future of the golf club and the 18-hole golf course, which is currently owned by Lennar Homes and on the market for roughly $4.3 million.