Sarasota Memorial ranked as fifth best Florida hospital

mjohnson@bradenton.comJuly 16, 2014 

SARASOTA -- Boosted by its recent emphasis on providing more and better medical care options to women, Sarasota Memorial Hospital has been ranked as one of the five best hospitals in Florida and a top gynecological hospital nationwide.

In its annual "Best Hospitals" list released Tuesday, U.S. News & World Report classes the 806-bed general medical and surgical facility as No. 5 in the Sunshine State. The magazine awarded it a No. 30 ranking for gynecological services and labeled it as "high performing" in eight other specialties.

Florida Hospital Orlando ranked No. 1 in Florida. Tampa General Hospital placed second in the state. Nationally, the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic topped the survey. In all, the magazine analyzed 4,743 hospitals.

This is the second year Sarasota Memorial has made the list, something hospital officials chalk up to good patient care and positive medical outcomes. Dr. Steven Taylor, the hospital's chief medical operations officer, said Sarasota Memorial's appearance in the report can only boost its reputation.

"It gives the patients a little bit of confidence that they're going to the right hospital," he said.

Sarasota Memorial was the only Sarasota or Manatee County hospital to be ranked on the hospitals list. U.S. News did release data about Manatee Memorial Hospital and Blake Medical Center, showing them as ranking just under the state average for whether patients there would recommend the hospitals to family or friends. The state average is 68 percent. The national average is 71 percent.

U.S. News only produced

a top-25 ranking for Florida. The magazine evaluated 265 Florida hospitals.

Sarasota Memorial achieved high-performing marks in eight departments: cancer, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, geriatrics, nephrology, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology. Only 3 percent of the hospitals studied by the magazine ranked in one or more of 16 specialties evaluated.

Taylor said this year's ranking criteria changed slightly to more heavily weighted data such as infection rates and outcomes. Name recognition and the opinions of medical professionals carried less import, leaving room for smaller hospitals to move to portions of the list normally monopolized by larger research institutions.

Sarasota Memorial made several capital improvements over the past year to augment its services. It opened new urgent care clinics in Venice and one on Bee Ridge Road to join three others, including one at Heritage Harbor in East Manatee. The hospital also completed a nine-story, $250 million addition to its downtown Sarasota hospital campus. The addition is home to three floors of women's services, an orthopedics department, a cardiac department, and patient rooms and support services.

The hospital sees more than 800,000 patients every year.

The complete hospital list can be seen at health.usnews.com/best-hospitals.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027 or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.

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