Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is capping off 2021 touting several milestones amounting to a billion-dollar investment in the health of Southwest Florida.
In the midst of a global pandemic that left workers, materials and other essential resources in short supply, Sarasota Memorial opened Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice, a 65-acre medical campus and new 110-bed hospital in Venice on Nov. 4, the same day it unveiled the heart of its new Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute, an 8-story oncology and surgical tower on its Sarasota campus. The health system also spent the past several weeks paving the way for construction to begin on a new, state-of-the-art behavioral health pavilion in the New Year.
“When we launched these transformative initiatives a few years ago, no one could have predicted the pandemic and how it would put so many lives and projects at risk,” said Sarasota Memorial Health Care System President and Chief Executive Officer David Verinder. “It’s been a difficult journey, one that has placed an enormous strain on our capacity and resources, but thanks to the incredible work and dedication of our team and partners, we are welcoming patients into two new groundbreaking facilities, and moving forward with more expansion plans that will help us meet vital community needs and promote health and wellness throughout the region for years to come.”
Sarasota Memorial noted that the three much-needed projects represent a $1.2 billion capital investment — the most significant expansion in the publicly owned, not-for-profit health system’s nearly century of service to the community — adding that the three investments address pressing community needs.
In a press release, Sarasota Memorial highlighted that its inpatient volumes have increased by more than 30 percent over the last five years. The hospital’s Sarasota campus was regularly at capacity before the onset of COVID-19, and stretched beyond its limits during pandemic-related patient surges. The two recently opened facilities have increased system-wide inpatient capacity from 839 beds to 1,005 beds, allowing the organization to better respond to evolving patient needs and improve access to care.
Meanwhile, the behavioral health pavilion will allow Sarasota Memorial to expand essential services at a time when COVID-19 has disrupted lives and led to an increase in people struggling with mental health challenges. A summary of each project is included below.