One of Florida's largest public health systems, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has been providing high-quality healthcare to the community since its modest beginnings in 1925. The flagship 895-bed acute care hospital, Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Sarasota Campus, is the only hospital in Sarasota County that offers obstetrics, pediatrics, level III neonatal intensive care, psychiatric services for patients of all ages, and a Level II Trauma Center. Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) is an 839-bed healthcare facility located in Sarasota, Florida. It is a non-profit community hospital governed by an unpaid nine-member board. The board members are elected by the community and serve for a period of four years.
Future phases of the Jellison Cancer Institute include a new cancer ward in Sarasota and a cancer center in Venice that will offer comprehensive outpatient services. Sarasota Memorial has also earned grade “A” designation from The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital watchdog organization. The hospital's Behavioral Health Pavilion will allow Sarasota Memorial to expand essential services at a time when COVID-19 has altered lives and led to an increase in people struggling with mental health issues. The current CEO of Sarasota Memorial is David Verinder, who arrived from Scott & White Memorial Hospital & Clinic in Temple, Texas.
He is supported by a team of experienced professionals including a board-certified health care law specialist who has provided legal advice to Sarasota Memorial for more than 20 years. More than 750 community members contribute their time and skills as hospital volunteers. SMH-Venice is the second acute care hospital in the health system, built to serve the growing population of southern Sarasota County. Current hospital board member Gregory Carter says that for-profit organizations want a portion of the money that goes to Sarasota Memorial, but it's hard to justify giving taxpayer dollars to for-profit hospitals that don't provide anywhere near the same services as SMH. The hospital's Sarasota campus was regularly at full capacity prior to the onset of COVID-19, and extended beyond its limits during pandemic-related patient surges.
While HCA stands firm in saying it doesn't want to privatize Sarasota Memorial, the company does have a financial interest in the hospital's board elections. Even so, Sarasota Memorial supporters don't risk it, creating a political action committee to oppose any privatization effort.