SMH-Venice’s new patient care tower opens

Inpatient capacity planned to nearly double this year

Image courtesy Sarasota Memorial Hospital

“Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice is on track to nearly double its inpatient capacity from 110 beds to 212 this year, with 68 new private patient suites opening [on April 3],” and an additional 34 private suites scheduled to open this fall, the health care system has announced.

“The two upper floors of the Venice hospital’s new five-story Northeast Tower began filling with patients [on April 3], with each new floor adding 34 patient suites,” a news release explains. “The fourth floor will serve as a larger, dedicated unit for cardiac patients, while the fifth floor will be dedicated for the growing volume of orthopedic patients,” the release adds.

“The expansion is in response to the high demand for medical services in the community,” the release notes. “Since opening in November 2021, SMH-Venice has operated at or near full capacity, and often beyond, as a critical health care safety net for people following the closure of ShorePoint Health Venice Hospital and Hurricane Ian in 2022,” the release points out.

“I am so proud of the Venice team for the outstanding care they have provided to our patients, despite a volley of challenges our community and hospital faced since we opened,” said Sharon Roush, president of the SMH-Venice Campus, in the release. “The new tower will ease our capacity constraints, decrease the need to transfer and admit patients to our larger hospital campus in Sarasota, and allow the Venice team to provide top tier care to even more members of our community.”

The ground level of the Northeast Tower “includes space for additional patient care and support services in the future, while the third level is interstitial space for mechanical systems,” the release notes.

“Construction is also well under way on a 30,000-square-foot expansion of SMH-Venice’s Emergency Care Center (ECC),” the release adds. “When complete this fall, the ECC will more than double in size, from 28 rooms to 61”; it will include enhancements to registration and support areas and increased imaging capabilities, as well, the release says.

Additionally, the hospital increased the number of surgical suites from six to eight in January and created space for eight more operating rooms in the future, the release notes.

Sarasota County Public Hospital Board Member Sharon Wetzler DePeters, who lives near the SMH-Venice campus, says her neighbors have been eagerly waiting for the latest expansion, the release continues.

“When we opened SMH-Venice, it was an important step in bringing SMH’s 5-star, nationally recognized hospital care to the growing south county region,” Wetzler DePeters pointed out in the release. “The fact that we are expanding so quickly is a testament to the excellent care our community can expect to receive from SMH. This has been a priority of the Hospital Board for many years, and I am excited to see the growth of the Venice campus, as well as new campuses now in the master planning phase in North Port and the Wellen Park community.”

To prepare for the expansion, SMH-Venice actively has been recruiting new staff, the release adds. “More than 200 new team members have been hired in recent months, with more staff set to come on board in the weeks and months ahead.”