Sarasota Memorial Hospital earns top maternity award from ‘U.S. News & World Report’ 

To receive recognition, hospitals had to demonstrate superior performance in five categories regarding quality of care

This is a block about Sarasota Memorial Hospital on the U.S. News & World Report website. Image courtesy U.S. News & World Report

Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Sarasota campus (SMH) has earned the highest possible award for maternity care in U.S. News & World Report’s first “Best Hospitals for Maternity” list released on Dec. 7, SMH announced.

To make the list, hospitals had to demonstrate superior performance on five quality metrics “that matter to expectant families,” a news release explained: “newborn complication rates; C-section rates in low-risk women; the number of births scheduled too early in pregnancy; whether hospitals gave women the option for vaginal births after cesarean; and how hospitals supported mother-baby bonding and breastfeeding.”

SMH not only received high marks in all the areas evaluated, the release pointed out, but “it is the only hospital in the region to be make the list. Less than 10% of the more than 2,700 hospitals delivering babies received high enough marks across the board to be recognized in the national ‘High Performing’ list for 2021-2022,” the release noted.

“All families deserve to be informed on how hospitals perform on key indicators of quality, which is why U.S. News has compiled and published a trove of maternal health data from hospitals across the country,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News & World Report, in the release. “The hospitals we’ve recognized as High Performing meet a high standard in caring for patients with uncomplicated pregnancies.”

“This is the first time U.S. News has published a list of Best Hospitals for Maternity,” the release pointed out. Participating hospitals responded to a voluntary survey from the U.S. News health analysis team in the spring, the release added. Their reports reflected clinical and quality data from 2019.

“The award and recognition are a testament to the care and commitment of our entire team, but what means the most to us is the shared hope and joy of families as we welcome a new baby into this world,” said Pam Beitlich, executive director of Women and Children’s Services at Sarasota Memorial, in the release.

“While the new Best Hospitals maternity ranking focuses on uncomplicated pregnancies, Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Sarasota is a referral center for women on the Suncoast with high-risk pregnancies as well,” the release explains. Delivering more than 4,000 babies a year,” SMH is the only hospital in the four-county Suncoast region “with a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for premature babies and critically ill newborns, with an experienced team of high-risk pregnancy specialists, neonatologists and obstetrical and pediatric hospitalists available 24/7.”

Further, the release notes, SMH-Sarasota was the first hospital in Southwest Florida “to earn international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, part of a World Health Organization initiative that promotes mother-baby bonding, breastfeeding and best practices in maternity care.”

Earlier this year, the release adds, U.S. News awarded SMH “high performer” ratings in 15 other procedures and conditions common among Medicare patients, including heart and stroke care; hip, knee and spine surgery; and cancer surgery.

The maternity rankings are published at