SMH Earns Highest 5-Star Rating in Medicare's New Scoring System

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System was one of the 2.2 percent of hospitals evaluated by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to earn the first-ever 5-Star rating for overall quality and safety. Sarasota Memorial was one of only two hospitals in Florida to receive CMS' highest score. For more information about the new scoring system, visit the Hospital Compare website at:

WestJet Connects Canada, Gulf Coast

Toronto and Sarasota will soon be just one cheap plane ride apart. Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport officials announced Monday that Canadian airline WestJet, a low-cost carrier, will begin nonstop service between the two cities starting in December. For the tourism industry on the Gulf Coast, that means a stronger connection with the entire Canada market at a time when visitation from the Great White North has grown increasingly important.

“This is very exciting for Canadian customers traveling to our beautiful Gulf Coast communities,” said SRQ airport President and CEO Fredrick Piccolo, “and will provide additional opportunities for locals to explore Canada and other destinations worldwide.”

WestJet starting Dec. 18 will offer nonstop service on Fridays and Sundays between SRQ and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). The flights will be offered seasonally, running through April 29. Flights will be on a Boeing 737-700 with 136 seats. Morning flights are scheduled to depart Toronto at 8:05am and land in Sarasota at 11:06am, with afternoon flights departing Sarasota at 11:55am and landing in Toronto at 2:39pm.

Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, said more visitors to Sarasota County originate from Toronto than any other international city, and the city is the seventh-most important origin city to the county. Since Oct.1, around 72,000 visitors to the county have come from Canada, compared to some 25,000 from the United Kingdom and 18,000 from Central European nations (Germany, Switzerland and Austria). She said WestJet should open access to more Canadians as well. “This is the first time a low-fare carrier comes from this market,” she said. “If ever there is a complaint from Canadian visitors, especially from Toronto, it’s that they feel they have to go to Buffalo for low-fare alternatives.” 

In Manatee County, tourism officials say Canada still trails Europe in terms of importance as far as visitors. In the first quarter of the year, for example, some 14,530 visitors originated from Europe while 14,050 came from Canada. But Elliot Falcione, director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Center, said getting the WestJet connection may be most important to the area as a means to serve seasonal residents who live in Toronto but winter in Sarasota. With the nonstop flight, Falcione said a concerted effort would be made toward boosting travel from Toronto to Manatee County. “With these additional flights in and out of Toronto, we will look at putting more advertising and public relations in that area,” he said. 


Rethink sun, sand and surf

Inbound Medical Tourism

Rethink sun, sand and surf. Medical Tourism is taking Florida by storm. If you haven't heard the news about Florida lawmakers' multi-million dollar push to bring both domestic and international patients to the Sunshine Staute -- you should. Watch the video (see links).


Doctors Hospital Achieves Robotic Spine Surgery Milestone

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota recently completed 100 Mazor Robotics Tenaissance guidance system procedures, performed by the team of Dr. Tan Ly and Dr. Thomas Sweeney. The Mazor technology allows spine surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures on patients who previously were not considered good surgical candidates.

SMH and Venice Regional Medical Center Win Blue Distinction for Spine Surgery & Total Knee/Hip Joint Replacement

Both Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and Venice Regional Medical Center received the highest level of distinction by Florida Blue, Florida's Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, as a high performing hospital for quality and efficiency in spine surgery and total hip/knee joint replacements. The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program is a national designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality specialty care - and has recently been expanded to include more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety as well as new cost-efficiency measures.

The Power of 3... Robots




With its technologically advanced i-Suites, the largest and most experienced group of multi-specialty robotic surgeons in the region and the recent arrival of the latest generation da Vinci surgical robot, Sarasota Memorial Hospital is enabling more surgeons to perform more complex procedures on more patients using a minimally invasive approach. 

Sarasota Memorial's third surgical robot – the da Vinci Si boasting the latest robotic options and features – was delivered Oct. 29 and is now hard at work in the hospital's minimally invasive operating suites. Sarasota Memorial was the first to pioneer robotic surgery in southwest Florida, and now has more than 22 robotic surgeons who have performed more than 2,000 procedures in an ever-growing field of specialties– cardiovascular, thoracic, gynecology, urology, oncology and general surgery. It is the only hospital in the region with so many experienced robotic surgeons and now three robotic operating suites to ensure a comprehensive range of minimally invasive surgical options are available to patients when they need them. 

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Sarasota Memorial Hospital and bring cutting edge technology to our clients.

For more information about robotic surgery or Sarasota Memorial's robotic surgeons, call our HealthLine at (941) 917-7777 or visit our website at:


American College of Radiology Recognizes Doctors Hospital of Sarasota…Again!


Doctors Hospital has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in ultrasound as the result of an extensive review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). This marks the eighth Accreditation awarded to the facility.

The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field.

“We are committed to meeting and exceeding the highest level of imaging quality and radiation safety set forth by the American College of Radiology,” says Kay Adkins, Director of Imaging & Cardiovascular Services. “From the training and qualifications of our clinical professionals to equipment requirements, quality assurance and quality control procedures, we have demonstrated our dedication to our patients and the community and are proud to be recognized for those efforts.”  

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Doctors Hospital in bringing you the very best. If you would like more information about Doctors Hospital of Sarasota or Florida Medical Retreat, contact us.

Healthgrades Report Ranks Sarasota Memorial Among Nation's Best

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Sarasota Memorial Hospital and congratulate them on their great news.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital ( has been listed among "America's 100 Best Hospitals" for stroke care, and was given a 5-star rating in heart, stroke, spine surgery and more than a dozen other specialties by American Hospital Quality Outcomes 2013: Healthgrades Report to the Nation (

For additional information, please contact Florida Medical Retreat.


Florida Medical Retreat Is Heading To Toronto's Zoomer Show!

Florida Medical Retreat is pleased to announce participation in this year's Zoomer Show in Toronto. In the first of its kind program, Visit Florida is partnering with Zoomer media to exhibit at their Toronto Consumer show this weekend, Saturday, October 27th & Sunday, October 28th. Show hours are: Saturday 9am-6pm and Sunday 10am-5pm.

Please stop by Florida Medical Retreat's booth located in the Florida Zone, booth #3203. Be sure to enter our drawing for an iPad2 & Kindle Fire HD and pick up some great goodies!!

We hope to see you all there!!

Dr. Scott Engel, Plastic Surgeon


engelTo commemorate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we asked Dr. Scott J. Engel, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Sarasota Plastic Surgery Center, to enlighten us about breast reconstruction.

What different types of breast reconstruction surgery are available after a mastectomy?

A reconstructive surgeon might work with the patient’s own body tissue, an implant, or a combination of both. When using an implant, the surgeon must often place a temporary saline expander to stretch out the tissue before replacing it with a more permanent implant. Reconstruction of the nipple and areola is the next step. These procedures reflect different options available to the surgeon. The raw materials may change. But rebuilding the breast in the most natural form possible is always the surgeon’s goal.

How soon after breast cancer surgery can breast reconstruction start?

It can begin immediately. When it does, it actually decreases the amount of additional surgeries required. Sadly, a large percentage of patients aren’t given the option to pursue immediate reconstruction due to the lack of coordination between surgeons. This is absolutely unacceptable.

Who is a good candidate for this procedure?

Any healthy woman with realistic expectations can undergo breast reconstruction. Factors like age, medical co-morbidities and the need for other cancer treatments are always taken into consideration.

Many young women at high risk of breast cancer are choosing to have prophylactic mastectomies before cancer develops. Do you recommend this?

Not as a blanket statement, no. It’s a question of risk- and that depends on the individual. Prophylactic mastectomies are generally reserved for women with a strong family history of breast cancer who test positive for the BRCA gene. A woman who fits this description should consult a geneticist, a surgeon and an oncologist before making a decision. But many women don’t know where they stand. Every woman should know what her level of risk is before she makes that choice. That’s my recommendation.

Do you recommend that all women have mastectomies consider reconstruction?

The loss of a woman’s breast can have dramatic effects on a woman’s mental and physical health. All healthy women should consider reconstruction. Some women opt to undergo breast conservation, which often entails postoperative radiation with the belief that the result will be more pleasing. Depending on the amount of tissue present, the results may be more pleasing with a complete mastectomy.

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Dr. Engel. If you should have addtional qustions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Engel, please contact Florida Medical Retreat.

Original Post: Style Magazine/ Health & Wellness

What Is Medical Tourism? Let Sarasota Show You

Shopping to get the most bang for your buck isn't relegated to buying a car or the best cell phone plan anymore. Patients seeking medical procedures such as knee or hip replacement and cataract surgery are now shopping around, going beyond their local physician and hospital to investigate places around the world, comparing prices and well, looking into what each has to offer as a vacation destination as well.

Let's face it, if you're going to recuperate from surgery, you may as well do it in a place that offers beautiful scenery, exquisite service, delectable dining and engaging entertainment.

Discover Natural Sarasota

Not only does Sarasota offer all of the above, it also happens to house the best trained physicians, cutting-edge technology and the most stringent safety standards in the world.

Dr. Debra Sandberg, CEO of Sarasota's Florida Medical Retreat, says that while patients had been traveling outside of the U.S. for lower-cost surgical procedures, the trend in medical tourism is beginning to shift back to the States.

"A couple things happened to change industry," Dr. Sandberg explains. "People who had gone to other countries suffered complications because the equipment is just not as good. Our surgeons have had to do repairs on patients who've had procedures performed in other countries.

"So in the last five years the U.S. has been a popular choice for its safety and security," Dr. Sandberg continues. "It was just rated the fifth most desirable destination in world. Also, doctors in U.S. hospitals are willing to work with those who pay cash."

Florida Medical Retreat: Surgery in Paradise

Florida Medical Retreat is designed to accommodate patients who not only desire superior medical treatment, but a superior rehabilitative experience as well. The retreat offers door-to-door concierge service-from assistance in scheduling the procedure to arranging luxury accommodations and entertainment for the family, to planning the patient's medical itinerary.

The retreat boasts 10 specialists who offer medical services that include cosmetic procedures, cataract surgery, orthopedic corrections, vascular surgery, urological treatments and neurological procedures performed at both Doctors Hospital of Sarasota and Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Following surgery, patients can join their families at the luxurious Sarasota Bay Club, where the club's rehabilitation center, The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club, offers physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Post-Op Perks

In addition to world-class medical facilities and staff, Sarasota's advantages include pristine beaches, world-class museums, theater and dining.

Siesta Key's Siesta Beach was recently named the No. 1 Beach in North America by beach expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman. Its powdered sugar sands and island amenities offer serenity and comfort in a tropical setting. But there's also plenty of beach to enjoy on Longboat Key, Casey Key and Lido Key, Venice and Englewood. Sarasota boasts 13 public beaches along Florida's southwest coast.

When John Ringling brought his circus to town in the early part of the 20th century, his love of the arts and discriminating taste came with him, which helped to mold Sarasota into the internationally acclaimed cultural destination it is today.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art houses 600 Baroque masterpieces and a collection of Peter Paul Rubens' work that is considered the finest in the world, and his historic mansion is an architectural masterpiece. Also located on the estate is the Asolo Theater, a genuine 18th century palace playhouse originally constructed and used in Asolo, Italy. Ringling had the theater carefully dismantled, shipped and reassembled in Sarasota, where it now serves as a state theater housing a world-class repertory company.

Sarasota thriving downtown theater district includes the Sarasota Opera House, the Banyan Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, the Golden Apple Dinner Theater and the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida. And there are galleries, too, such as Art Uptown and Artisans" World Marketplace, to name a few.

Sarasota's culinary offerings are no less stellar. This coastal community's international flavor and love of culture have enticed chefs and sommeliers from around the world to call Sarasota home. And their award-winning restaurants offer everything from European fare to Indian flavor, surfside seafood to submarine sandwiches.

Risks associated with surgery and ambulatory aides required post surgery for safety

This final segment discusses post surgery, rehab questions. Dr. Stolarski also discusses the risks associated with surgery and ambulatory aides required post surgery for safety. If you have additional questions please contact Florida Medical Retreat,

Dr. Edward Stolarski discusses Medical Tourism and how he became involved with the industry

Dr. Edward Stolarski discusses Medical Tourism and how he became involved with the industry. Dr. Stolarski answers additional questions sent in by the viewers. If you have additional questions please contact Florida Medical Retreat,


Dr. Edward Stolarski on Knee & Hip Replacement surgery (SNN Interview)

Local Doctors on Call - SNN News 6, May 23, 2011. Host Alix Redmonde interviews Board Certifiied, Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Edward Stolarski on Knee & Hip Replacement surgery. This three part series answers questions sent in from the local community.If you have additional questions please contact Florida Medical Retreat,


Doctor's Hospital of Sarasota, FL

Doctors Hospital is a 168-bed acute and general care facility serving Sarasota and Manatee counties. The Emergency Room is open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week by board certified emergency physicians.

There are several videos on the youtube page about Doctor's Hospital to view as well.

[video: 100x100]

Health Tourism ~ Become Part of this Growing Industry

Health Tourism Magazine is focusing on the whole picture—Destinations. Let’s face it, you can’t successfully engage in health tourism without a fabulous destination at hand. So this month, we are bringing the destinations to you and letting you decide where you would like to travel for the top health procedures and wellness retreats. Whether you prefer Hawaii, Latin America or the Caribbean, “Destination Wellness” has something for everyone.  So, dive in and prepare to be carried away ~ to the islands of Hawaii for healing ceremonies, or to Ecuador for the simple beauty contained in the rain forests and lush green lands.


Original Post: 7&article=health-tourism-become-part-this-growing

More from "Curious About Facelifts?"

According to Plastic Surgery Research, facelifts are among the top cosmetic procedures in the U.S., and one of the top five most common cosmetic procedures among women.  A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that provides an overall lift to the lower third of the face b y tightening loose muscles and reducing redundant skin the jowls, neck area and jaw line. The procedure takes about two hours, and the incisions are hidden back in your hairline. Recovery is rapid and most people feel comfortable going out again after two or three weeks, finding that their face feels completely "normal" in about ten to twelve weeks. A facelift can be combined with a brow lift and/or blepharoplasty.

Whether male or female, most facelift patients want a healthy appearance with a rejuvenated and natural look. If you are interested in accomplishing similar goals, I recommend you choose a surgeon with a conservative approach to cosmetic facial surgery. For example, I carefully raise and tighten the muscles vertically so that the result is a clean and strengthened jaw line. This approach creates a long-lasting, natural-looking lift.  However, "production" lifts seen on television may pull the skin too tight to create a stretched or artificial look. Something most patients want to avoid.

Original Post:

 May edition of SCENE magazine, page 88.  Board certified and fellowship trained at Yale and Vanderbilt Universities, John P. Fezza, MD, focuses exclusively on faces and specializes in facelifts. Dr. Fezza's office is at Center for Sight,

Curious About Facelifts?

When considering a facelift, the most important decision you will make is the choice of your surgeon. you want someone who is highly skilled in surgical technique and artistically capable of understanding the finer points of balance, shape and light. In the right hands, a facelift can be safe and effective, giving absolutely beautiful, long lasting results. Arrange to have several consultations, ask for patient referrals and choose wisely.

While a consultation may take up to an hour, it is time well spend. We discuss expectations and options, so that the choices you make provide the most rewarding outcome. We also evaluate areas of concern. For example, facial muscles age over time. As a result, the face may deflate and being to sag. We talk about those troubled areas, and I recommend techniques that will harmonize and suit your facial structure.

Original Post:

Scene Magazine May 2011 Edition, page 88. Board certified and fellowship trained at Yale and Vanderbilt Universities, John P. Fezza, MD, focuses exclusively on faces and specializes in facelifts. Dr. Fezza's office is at Center for Sight,

Guide to medical tourism: What to do if something goes wrong

All operations carry some risk and while it is hoped that all medical, dental, or cosmetic procedures will go to plan even with a smooth procedure it is wise to exercise some caution.  Plan properly for the recovery period and anticipate any possible complications.  Allow some flexibility to your schedule – just in case.  Know what to expect - ask the doctor for detailed instructions and to explain what is normal and what is not for the days following the surgery.

Original Post:

Guide to medical tourism: Is treatment abroad for you?

Medical tourism,as it is now known, is a growing industry and more and more countries are jumping on the bandwagon to offer tourists competitively priced elective surgery, cosmetic surgery and dentistry abroad. 
Overseas healthcare is a safe and viable option but it is important to do some research beforehand:
  • Read all you can and talk to people who have been abroad for surgery to help make your decision
  • Scan the newspapers or TV to see which countries are getting good press for their medical expertise.  India’s health care sector, for example, has undergone an enormous boom in recent years and has become a global health destination offering some of the best medical treatment in the world, despite the perceived shortcomings of healthcare in developing countries.  Meanwhile closer to home, European countries like Belgium, Hungary and Poland are offering excellent cosmetic dentistry and cosmetic surgery treatments for very reasonable prices, and are only a short flight from the UK.
  • Look out for exhibitions and symposia on medical tourism and meet international healthcare providers at events such as India’s Medical Tourism Expo in London or Turkey’s Healthex London Exhibition (February 2007).
The reasons for choosing to travel abroad for medical treatment are different for everyone but with lengthy NHS waits and concerns about MRSA in NHS hospitals there is little wonder that a growing number of Brits are taking advantage of affordable, high quality private healthcare abroad, and combining it with a tropical, cultural or relaxing holiday on a Caribbean island, in a cultural European capital, or the south of Spain, saving thousands of pounds compared with having the treatment done privately in the UK.

However medical tourism does not appeal to all; decide whether being away from your home and family to have surgery/treatment would bother you, do you often feel home-sick when holidaying abroad?  If you feel it could be for you, then then find out what you need to consider.

Original Post:



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