VENICE — Community Health Systems Inc . is closing its ShorePoint Health Venice hospital effective Sept. 22, with emergency services suspended as of 7 a.m. Aug. 29.
The hospital company will continue its outpatient services, specifically at ShorePoint Health Park on Jacaranda Boulevard.
Hospital officials, in a news release, pointed to changes in health care services available in the region — specifically the opening of Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s new campus in Venice last November — as a reason for the closure.
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ShorePoint Venice CEO Kelly Enriquez spent a good portion of Monday answering questions from employees in various departments at the hospital.
In a prepared statement, Enriquez said, “The employees of ShorePoint Venice have provided exceptional care to the residents of Venice throughout the years, and we are extremely grateful for their dedication and compassion.
“Retaining our valued team members is our top priority during this transition,” she added.
Physician network to continue seeing patients in Venice area practices
Current plans call for ShorePoint Medical Group physician specialist network members to continue seeing patients in their Venice-area practices, and the hospital is exploring how it might align with one of its remaining hospitals, ShorePoint Port Charlotte.
The 312-bed private hospital opened on December 3, 1951 as South Sarasota Memorial Hospital and was renamed Venice Memorial Hospital in February 1952.
It was subsequently sold three times, including a 2014 sale to CHS, which bought two dozen hospitals from Health Management Associates for $7.6 billion.
Plumbing problems led to raw sewage leaks and other problems at the hospital in 2015-16, which contributed to an erosion of public confidence in the hospital.
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In addition to the opening of SMH-Venice, an announcement from spokeswoman Danielle Gagliano cited the fact that the hospital had experienced a decline in patients, as well as increases in labor costs and inflation, some of which was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June, ShorePoint Health Venice announced a joint venture with Select Medical, a post-acute care recovery hospital, that would create a long-term care inpatient hospital on two floors of the Venice hospital.
It is not yet known whether this agreement remains in force.
While the emergency department is set to close Aug. 29, the closure in the rest of the facility will begin gradually, with ShorePoint officials working with patients, as well as first responders and other area hospitals, to ensure patients receive a careful follow-up.
The news of the hospital closing disappointing, but not surprising
News of the closure — which began trickling through rumors last week after word leaked from several closed-door meetings — was met with disappointment, but not surprise.
“We haven’t heard directly what’s going on there,” said Kathly Lehner, president and CEO of the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s very sad for us to know that what was across the street – and our landlord as well – will not be there.
“I think it’s going to hurt the community itself on the island,” Lehner added, citing residents who will soon have to travel to SMH-Venice at the intersection of Pinebrook and Laurel roads for care.
Venice Mayor Ron Feinsod said the announcement didn’t come as a shock to him, as officials at the hospital, which was known as Venice Regional Bayfront Health until a rebrand in November 2021, had talked with him about demolishing the existing campus and replacing it with a smaller one. one.
“I knew they were trying to find a way to stay on the island, but I’m not surprised they couldn’t find a way,” Feinsod said. “It’s unfortunate, but I think it was kind of inevitable.”
This is a developing story.
Earle Kimel primarily covers southern Sarasota County for the Herald-Tribune and can be reached at [email protected]. Support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Herald-Tribune.