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East County Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019 3 weeks ago

Healthy competition in store for Lakewood Ranch area hospitals

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Health care officials say Lakewood Ranch area benefits by competitive market.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

With the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s outpatient radiation oncology center due to open next summer on its Honore Avenue/University Parkway campus, Lakewood Ranch area residents have one more reason not to leave the area to seek vital health services.

Officials from competing hospitals, speaking to Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance members Oct. 23 at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, said it is another example of a healthy competition that will result in local residents having more choices and less driving time.

The outpatient radiation oncology center is just the first phase of a comprehensive Cancer Institute, with a second phase, which includes rooms for those receiving treatment who need to stay overnight, under construction at its main Sarasota campus.

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System Chief Operating Officer Lorrie Liang said Lakewood Ranch is a “prospering health care environment,” with more physicians entering the market and opportunities for hospitals to evolve services to meet the needs of the community.

Liang was joined by Lakewood Ranch Medical Center CEO Andy Guz and Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota Chief Operating Officer Peter Hemstead in speaking to the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.

All three have facilities in the Lakewood Ranch area and said growth ultimately will result in more services.

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, a 120-bed facility with more than 25 medical specialties, in July celebrated the grand opening of a $28.5 million expansion that included two new operating rooms, an additional heart catheterization lab, a new advanced MRI system, and an expanded and enhanced surgical waiting area, preoperative space and post-surgical space.

More is on the way.

Guz said the hospital has begun an expansion and renovation of its Women’s Center to create more labor-and-delivery and postpartum rooms, which should be finished in mid-2020.

Additionally, Lakewood Ranch Medical Center is in the “infancy” stage of developing a long-term plan for hospital growth.

“We’re starting a plan for the entire hospital — how do we accommodate growth?” Guz said.

Guz said he expects the hospital might expand within three years.

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