Sarasota Memorial celebrates two milestones related to its maternity and newborn care

Sarasota facility remains only one on Suncoast to be designated Baby-Friendly Hospital

Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Sarasota campus has achieved two major milestones in maternity care: earning the Level III Maternal Care Verification from the Joint Commission, and renewing its Baby-Friendly Hospital designation from Baby-Friendly USA, the health care system has announced.

The Joint Commission, in collaboration with the American College of Obstetrics, assesses and verifies a hospital’s maternal levels of care through a voluntary survey conducted every three years, the release explains.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) received the Level III verification for providing advanced care to patients with low- and moderate-risk pregnancies, as well as those who are high-risk patients. That includes “subspecialty care for more complex maternal medical conditions, obstetric complications and fetal conditions,” the release adds.

Following a comprehensive on-site assessment, SMH-Sarasota also has achieved re-designation as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, the release continues. “The international recognition spotlights hospitals that create a care environment and culture that supports mother-baby bonding, breastfeeding, and best practices in maternity care,” the release points out. “The standards required by Baby-Friendly USA are built on evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund,” the release says.

SMH-Sarasota was the first hospital on the Suncoast to earn the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation. That initially came in 2017; SMH-Sarasota has been re-designated for another five years, the release adds, noting that the facility remains the only hospital on the Suncoast to achieve that designation.

“We are proud to be recognized for not only providing exceptional maternity services, but also for our compassionate and skilled nursing team, breastfeeding support and high-risk pregnancy care,” said Pam Beitlich, executive director for Women and Children’s Services at the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, in the release. “These achievements reflect our entire team’s commitment to providing the best possible care for mothers and babies in our community,” she added.

Sarasota Memorial’s two campuses — the second is in Venice — “are the only hospitals delivering babies in Sarasota County,” with more than 4,500 births recorded in 2022, the release notes. “The health system offers a full range of maternity services, including an Obstetrical Emergency Care Center, the only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the area, a team of board-certified specialists, and comprehensive education and support programs,” the release adds.