One of the Nation’s 100 Top Hospitals – Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

Florida Medical Retreat is pleased to share with you that Doctors Hospitals has been named one of the Nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters! Congratulations!

Sarasota, Florida - - (April 16, 2012) - - Doctors Hospital of Sarasota was today named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals ® by Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare.

The Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals® study evaluates performance in 10 areas: mortality; medical complications; patient safety; average patient stay; expenses; profitability; patient satisfaction; adherence to clinical standards of care; post-discharge mortality; and readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, and pneumonia. The study has been conducted annually since 1993.

“We are thrilled to bring this prestigious award to the Sarasota community,” says Robert Meade, CEO, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. “We are proud to be recognized again for our continual improvement and high standards of patient care and satisfaction.”

In addition to being named among the Top 100 in the nation, Doctors Hospital also received the Everest Award. Everest winners are both a 100 Top Hospital current performance winner and one of the 100 most improved hospitals on their five-year trend performance. 

To conduct the 100 Top Hospitals study, Thomson Reuters researchers evaluated 2,886 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals. They used public information — Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, and core measures and patient satisfaction data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare website. Hospitals do not apply, and winners do not pay to market this honor.

“This year, the concentration of 100 Top Hospitals award winners has shifted significantly, with Texas, Florida, and California housing the most winners,” said Jean Chenoweth, Senior Vice President at Thomson Reuters.  ”A major change in performance geographically is an encouraging indication that the bar for quality care has been raised once again.”

 Based on comparisons between the study winners and a peer group of similar high-volume hospitals that were not winners, we found that if all hospitals performed at the level of this year’s winners:

         More than 186,000 additional lives could be saved.

         Approximately 56,000 additional patients could be complication-free.

         More than $4.3 billion could be saved.

         The average patient stay would decrease by nearly half a day.

 We based this analysis on the Medicare patients included in this study. If the same standards were applied to all inpatients, the impact would be even greater.



Humanitatian Award Given to Thomas Sweeney, II, M.D. PhD

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to announce Thomas Sweeney, II, MD, was recently awarded the Frist Humanitarian Award. This award is the highest honor a physician can receive at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.

The Frist Humanitarian Award was created in 1971 to honor outstanding individuals for their humanitarian and volunteer activities. Named in honor of Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr., a founder of HCA, this award recognizes individuals whose daily dedication and care giving epitomize the highest standards of quality and personal commitment.

Thomas Sweeney, MD, PhD is a fellowship trained spine surgeon. In addition to being an excellent physician with a caring and compassionate nature, he is also an active humanitarian. Dr. Sweeney travels to St. Martin to provide healthcare to the underprivileged and is also helping to build a hospital there for those in need.

Florida Medical Retreat is proud and honored to work with Dr. Sweeney and congratulate him on this outstanding award!

Put Important Healthcare Decisions In Writing

Sarasota joins national campaign urging people of all ages to communicate about and put important healthcare decisions in writing
Despite increased public awareness of the need for advance care planning, studies show that most Americans are not exercising their right to make advance healthcare decisions before emergency situations arise that prevent them from doing so at critical times.
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, along with other national, state and community organizations and health providers, is participating in a nationwide public awareness campaign to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making on  of April 16, officially designated as National Healthcare Decisions Day. On that day in communities across the country, people will have the opportunity to engage in thoughtful conversations about their healthcare wishes and complete reliable advance directives to make their decisions known should an injury or illness prevent them from making them in critical medical situations.

In Sarasota County, Sarasota Memorial will host a community education event featuring a panel of medical, legal and mental health experts presenting the latest information on ethical & living wills, advanced directives, health care surrogates and other ways to make your critical healthcare decisions known. Featured speakers include: Joelle Angsten, MD, Hospice & Palliative Care Medicine; Dr. David Habif, Nationally Recognized Physician & Researcher John Griffin, Esq., Elder Law, Ethical Wills.

The free event will take place 6-8 pm Monday, April 16, in Sarasota Memorial’s first floor auditorium, 1700 S. Tamiami Trail. Public RSVP: (941) 917-1779

Four years after surgery in Colombia, a Tampa woman's breast implant ruptured

TAMPA - For weeks, Johana Rodriguez has questioned why she feels so sick, sleeping 15 hours a day. "I don't feel like myself anymore," she said. "I feel really tired." Monday afternoon, Rodriguez got her answer. "I'm about to go in the OR to have my implants removed."

Rodriguez has PIP breast implants, banned in the US, but commonly used abroad for years in cheap plastic surgery. Traveling to Colombia for the implants four years ago cut the cost of Rodriguez's surgery in half, from $6,000 to $3,000. "There's a very high percentage of patients who go to foreign countries and don't get a good result," explained Rodriguez's plastic surgeon, Dr. Bart Rademaker. "In fact, they can have lots of problems."

French authorities recently charged PIP's founder with involuntary injury after they claim the company switched to industrial grade silicone a few years ago. It's silicone that is now leaking through Rodriguez's body. She recently learned her right implant had likely ruptured, signaled by seven enlarged lymph nodes near her armpit, one three times its normal size. Two hours into her surgery, Dr. Rademaker removed the faulty implant. It was completely split in half.

"Implants made in the US do not rupture like this. Typically when an implant ruptures in the US, it's a small break and maybe the silicone comes out. This is a complete failure of the entire implant," Dr. Rademaker said. "I've actually never seen anything like it."

Dr. Rademaker estimates anywhere between one-quarter and one-half of plastic surgery patients travel abroad for cheap surgery, especially as the economy has nose-dived.  He claims it can end up costing more in the end. "This is another $6,000. So, she's actually $3,000 more than she would have had to pay," Dr. Rademaker said. "Is it really worthwhile? At the end of the day, you're really not saving that much money." The average American breast implant's shelf-life is about 10 years or longer. Rodriguez has only had her implants for four years, and Dr. Rademaker expects to see many more patients like her in the near future.

Some estimates of patients with PIP implants are calculated at 300,000 women world-wide. Rodriguez's own mother has PIP implants, and like her daughter, now faces a $6,000 invoice to have them removed.

Dr. John Sylvester first physician in US to perform SpaceOAR procedure

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to offer prostate cancer treatment by John Sylvester, M.D. A world leader in Radiation Oncology. Dr. Sylvester is a board-certified Radiation Oncologist with a sub-specialty in the treatment of prostate cancer including brachytherapy / seed therapy.

In February 2012 Dr Sylvester became the first physician in the USA to perform a SpaceOAR procedure. A new procedure on an FDA study that aims at improving IG-IMRT for prostate cancer. On March 17th, 2012, Dr. Sylvester gave a presentation at the Augmentix users meeting (Physicians, Physicists and study coordinators) regarding SpaceOAR. There will be only a limited number of sites in the USA allowed to use this new process. 

On March 24th , 2012 he gave a presentation on IG-IMRT and Brachytherapy for prostate cancer to other physicians (Urologists, Radiation Oncologists and Primary care physicians)  at the 3rd annual International Prostate Cancer Conference, in Orlando. Other lecturers included: Assistant Professor of Urology at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, Director of Florida Radiation Oncology, Assistant Professor Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, Professor, Dept. of Radiation Oncology and Professor of Urology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY.

Over the past two decades, Dr. Sylvester performed more than 3,000 prostate brachytherapy procedures. He developed and assisted in the development of many technical improvements in the procedure and trained thousands of physicians in advanced prostate cancer treatment, co-authoring the current American Brachytherapy Society guidelines. Dr. Sylvester is the lead author in the first and only 15-year long-term Prostate cancer Brachytherapy outcomes article.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sylvester contact Florida Medical Retreat or call (800) 643-0529.



Center For Sight Doctors Named by U.S. News & World Report as Top Doctors

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with the two Center for Sight doctors that have received this honor. For more information on Dr. David Shoemaker or Dr. John Fezza, please contact Florida Medical Retreat.

Dr. David W. Shoemaker, founder and CEO of Center For Sight and nationally recognized expert in cataract and lens replacement surgery together with Dr. John P. Fezza, Director of Cosmetic and Facial Surgery at Center For Sight, have been named as Top Doctors by U.S News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report have partnered with Castle Connolly Medical, Ltd., publisher of America’s Top Doctors.® All physicians undergo an extensive review of credentials by a physician-led research team and are nominated by their peers based on their education, training, experience and credentials.

To view the Top Doctors database online visit the U.S. News website

“We are proud to have Center For Sight recognized by U.S. News and World Report. This serves as yet another reminder that it is an honor to be entrusted with our patients care. This is a trust we will always respect and deliver on”, stated David W. Shoemaker, M.D.

About David W. Shoemaker, M.D.

As founder and CEO of Center For Sight, Dr. David W. Shoemaker has dedicated his career to delivering unsurpassed results in cataract and lens replacement surgery. Under his leadership, the Center For Sight cataract team has helped over 100,000 people enjoy the benefits of today’s advanced cataract surgery. In addition to being U.S. News & World Report Top Doctor, Dr. Shoemaker has been named by Bausch + Lomb as an inaugural member of the Crystalens Millennium Society, an elite group of twelve cataract surgeons from around the world who have implanted 1,000 or more Crystalens lenses. Board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and the American Board of Eye Surgery, Dr. Shoemaker is also a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and the American College of Ophthalmic Surgery.

About John P. Fezza, M.D.

Dr. John P. Fezza has been a member of the Center For Sight team since 1998 and specializes in cosmetic facial and laser surgery. His expertise in today’s advanced techniques couples the use of lasers for skin smoothing and rejuvenation along with small incisions in the most recent surgical techniques. In addition to be Castle Connolly’s Top Doctor, Dr. Fezza is a nationally recognized author and lecturer on cosmetic facial and laser surgery, is on the prestigious National Education Faculty for Botox, a Lumenis Laser teacher for physicians worldwide, an ad hoc preceptor for ASOPRS fellows and an active Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of South Florida. He is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Board of Ophthalmology and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.

December 7, 2011 -

Sarasota Memorial Hospital -Columbia Medical Center Partner to Provide Leading Edge Heart Care

Collaboration between Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and Columbia University Medical Center’s Division of Cardiac Surgery to provide Tampa Bay &  patients greater access to the latest innovations and treatment options in cardiac care.

SARASOTA, Fla. (March 29, 2012) – Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has been consistently recognized among the nation’s best hospitals for cardiac care. Just last week, it was once again ranked among America’s 50 Best Hospitals by HealthGrades, with 5-star ratings in heart care and more than 20 other specialties.

New York’s Columbia University Medical Center has long been ranked among the best academic medical schools and cardiovascular teaching programs in the nation.

Today, officials from the two top heart programs announced a strategic collaboration to make heart care even better for those living in Southwest Florida.

“This collaboration brings together the best of both worlds – one of the nation's top academic medical centers and one of the nation’s best community hospitals,” said Ricardo Yaryura, MD, medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s cardiology services.

“Sarasota Memorial has exceptionally trained and experienced cardiologists and cardiac surgeons,” he added. “The collaborative training opportunities will allow us to further build our program and accelerate Sarasota Memorial’s ability to pioneer new technology and provide local patients and physicians with the latest innovations and treatment options in cardiac care.”

The affiliation with Columbia’s Division of Cardiac Surgery, ranked sixth in the nation for cardiovascular care by U.S. News & World Report, gives Sarasota Memorial and its physicians 24/7 access to the cardiac surgery faculty and researchers at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons medical school for case consultation, as well as the latest teaching, research initiatives and clinical trials under way in the academic setting.

“We are proud to align ourselves with Sarasota Memorial, and share our academic strengths, training and research initiatives with an already top-notch cardiac team,” said Craig Smith, MD, chairman of Columbia’s Department of Surgery. “The collaboration will combine the strengths of both programs to ensure patients have access to state-of-the-art technology and research and receive outstanding cardiac care.”

Benefits of the collaboration include:

• 24/7 access to Columbia’s cardiac surgery faculty and researchers for case consultation.
• Accelerated access to new cardiac devices and therapies, including the latest minimally invasive and percutaneous treatment options.
• Participation in research initiatives and clinical trials under way in the academic setting. Sarasota Memorial physicians also will have the opportunity to receive Columbia faculty appointments.
• Greater visibility as the hospital recruits top-notch physicians and clinical leaders to the region.
• Coordinated access to Columbia Medical Center in New York for patients who need procedures not routinely performed at Sarasota Memorial, such as pediatric heart surgery and heart transplants.

The collaboration was announced as Sarasota Memorial pursues some of the latest advances in cardiac care. Later this year, the hospital will open a new hybrid OR-cardiac catheterization lab, thanks to a grant from Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc. The state-of-the-art procedure room will allow cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to perform complex procedures simultaneously, so heart patients who need more than one surgery don’t have to go through multiple procedures and recovery periods. Columbia had the first dual-trained surgeon in both cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology, and has an established hybrid surgery program and protocols with outstanding clinical outcomes and low co-morbidities. Sarasota Memorial and its physicians will benefit from shared resources and one of the best training programs in the nation.

Similarly, the hospital is opening a new Valve Center in the coming months to offer the latest tests and treatments – including minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement, TAVR – for patients with severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the heart valves). The procedure is used to replace high-risk patients’ diseased aortic valve without heart bypass or open-heart surgery. Columbia’s experience with its own well-established Valve Clinic can guide Sarasota Memorial’s efforts as the local program evolves.

“This relationship presents wonderful learning opportunities for everyone involved,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKenzie. “With Columbia at our side, we’ve gained a study partner at the top of its class, with skills and experience that complement and augment our own – and most importantly, one that shares our commitment to bring the benefits of academic medicine to the people of our community.”

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of inpatient, outpatient and extended care services, with more than 800,000 patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s 806-bed acute care hospital has ranked among the top 1% of the nation’s 5,000-plus hospitals for consistent clinical excellence in HealthGrades’ annual studies since the award’s inception in 2007. To be recognized with this distinction, hospitals must achieve the lowest risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates in the nation for the most consecutive years. For information, visit:

About Columbia University Medical Center
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical, and clinical research; in medical and health sciences education; and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit

This is great news for Sarasota!

Single-Incision Robotic Surgery Now Available in Sarasota at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

Single-Incision Robotic Surgery Now Available in Sarasota at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota - Minimally Invasive Surgery has Taken Another Step Forward

 Sarasota, Florida (March 28, 2012) - - Doctors Hospital of Sarasota is proud to be bring single-incision robotic surgery to Sarasota. Yesterday, John Nora, MD performed our first robot-assisted single-incision gallbladder removal utilizing the revolutionary da Vinci Si® surgical robot.

 “The benefits of the Single-Site robotic surgery are being realized,” said Dr. Nora, General and Vascular Surgeon. “The surgery results in minimal pain, a faster recovery and return to work for the patient as well as a virtually invisible scar masked by the belly-button.”

 “To be on the forefront of this technically advanced surgery is an example of our commitment to our patients and our leadership in providing our community the latest, minimally invasive surgical options,” said Robert Meade, CEO of Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.

 Each year, about one million people in the United States will undergo gallbladder removal. Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the da Vinci Si® single-incision gallbladder removal this past December, many of these patients will benefit from the minimal scarring, less pain, less bleeding and faster recovery of robot-assisted gallbladder removal.

 While the traditional da Vinci Si® gallbladder removal required only four small incisions, this latest advancement in technology allows the whole procedure to be completed through one incision at the belly button. This is especially good news for women that may have concerns about scarring. Gallstones, which can lead to the need for gallbladder removal, occur twice as often in women.

 Doctors Hospital of Sarasota offers many types of robotic-assisted surgeries. In addition to gallbladder removal, our surgeons utilize the da Vinci Si® in urology, gynecology, general surgery, and oncology procedures. Doctors Hospital also offers a wide range of non-robotic, minimally invasive surgeries.

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Doctors Hospital of Sarasota and be able to offer their outstanding state-of-the-art robotic surgeries.  For more information, contact Florida Medical Retreat.


Happy Doctor's Day!

Florida Medical Retreat would like to wish all doctors a Happy Doctor's Day! Thank you for all you do. We appreciate you!

According to, "It is a day to celebrate the contribution of physicians who serve our country by caring for its' citizens."

The first Doctor's Day was observed on March 30, 1933 in Winder, Georgia, when Eudora Brown Almond - wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond - decided to set a day aside to honor physicians. In 1990, the House and Senate officially declared March 30 "National Doctor's Day."

Traditionally, people celebrate the day by going out of their way to thank their doctors, mailing greeting cards, and sending flowers. The red carnation is commonly associated with the National Doctor's Day.



Reform in Canadian healthcare system opens doors for global healthcare providers looking for patients

Helen K. Cosburn, ACCESS Global Healthcare

 Toronto, Ontario - Economist Don Drummond released his highly anticipated report this month, The Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services. The government commissioned report calls for extensive spending reductions across Ontario, Canada’s most populated province. Despite continued concern over access to healthcare, the report shows the government is spending far too much on healthcare and hits hard with 105 recommendations towards reducing healthcare spending. While there are no recommendations that specific procedures should be delisted from government coverage, the way in which procedures qualify for coverage may change. Additionally, spending reprioritization and cuts could have a significant impact on access to healthcare, a top concern among Canadians.

The report has been called “the most significant blueprint for government reform ever seen in Canada” by former Head of Ontario Public Services, Tony Dean, and it is believed to have the potential to fundamentally change the public healthcare system structure but more importantly how patients receive care. It should be noted, that privatization was not recommended.

The release of the Drummond report raises many questions on what implications spending cuts will have on growing wait times. Only three months prior, the Fraser Institute released its report ‘Waiting Your Turn: Wait times for Healthcare in Canada, 2011 Report” revealing that wait times in Canada had reached an all-time high. The report indicated that the median wait time for Canadians seeking surgical or other therapeutic treatments in 2011 was 19 weeks, the longest wait time since 1993. In 2011, Canadians were waiting for nearly one million procedures with wait times ranging from 4.2 weeks to 41.6 weeks and physicians agree that these long wait times are beyond what is considered clinically reasonable.

The Frasier Institute report indicated that in this past year specialists reported that 1% of patients (approximately 50,000 people) received treatment in another country. A 2011 report by Deloitte indicated that 2% of Canadians had traveled out of country for treatment and another 20% would travel internationally for self-pay treatment.

With growing wait times, looming healthcare restructuring and increased consumerism in healthcare by Canadians it is no wonder that more and more Canadians are looking outside of Canada for healthcare solutions.


About the Author

  Helen K. Cosburn is the CEO of ACCESS Global Healthcare. Helen possesses a wealth of international healthcare expertise gathered from nearly a decade of industry experience ranging from hospital administration, global patient management, operations consulting and patient program development to industry consultant and strategist. From her experience across more than 25 countries, she identified a disconnect between patient expectations and provider offerings due to cultural, service and marketing inequities. Helen saw this opportunity, and created ACCESS Global Healthcare in 2009, which serves to bridge the gap between patients and providers. The foundation of ACCESS is based on the principle that operations and marketing must be in complete synchrony to be successful and sustainable. ACCESS focuses on developing harmonious operations and marketing through market strategies, market entry, global versus regional programs, network development, operations consulting, patient management programs, as well as broad sector consulting. Helen has a particular interest in the Canadian and Caribbean markets. In her spare time, Helen is an avid volunteer.

To learn more about ACCESS, visit


41 People Have Vision Restored Thanks to Free Cataract Surgery by Center For Sight

Sarasota, Florida – March 26, 2012 – Center For Sight performed 41 free cataract surgeries for people who have no insurance and no means to pay on Friday, March 23, 2012, at its state-of-the-art surgical center in Sarasota. Next Friday, March 30, Center For Sight will perform dozens more free surgeries, all as part of Mission Cataract USA, a nationwide project involving eye surgeons throughout the United States. Most patients were from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, with a few traveling from as far away as Alabama and Georgia. The surgeries were performed by Dr. David Shoemaker, Dr. William Lahners, Dr. Joshua Kim and Dr. William Soscia, and supported by a team of Center For Sight nurse anesthetists, medical technicians, nurses and administrative staff, all of whom donate their services for the day.

 Ivan Goldstein, 57, of Sarasota had a cataract removed from his left eye, having had his right eye treated at Center For Sight as part of last year’s Mission Cataract project. “My vision has always been poor since I was a kid,” he said. “This will be the first time in my life I’ve been able to see well. I’m looking forward to being able to drive, and do simple things like going to the supermarket and seeing what I’m buying.”

 People such as Mr. Goldstein are the reason Center For Sight added a second day of surgeries this year, so patients don’t have to wait a full year to have the operation performed on their second eye.

 “It’s a privilege to be in a position to help people who are facing completely preventable blindness,” said Dr. David Shoemaker, Founder and Director of Cataract and Lens Replacement Surgery at Center For Sight. “Our Mission Cataract patients are different from the patients we see the rest of the year. Most of them have an advanced condition that has gone untreated for years, and surgery is necessary not only to improve their vision but to save their sight.”

 Brian Penambere, a 51-year-old truck driver from Bradenton, is one such patient. “I hadn’t seen a doctor in years,” he said. “About three weeks ago, my depth perception was so bad I was stumbling around, knocking things over. I saw a doctor at Manatee Rural Health Clinic, who said my lens was stuck to the retina and I had pressure behind my eye. They put me in touch with Center For Sight. I recently lost my job and my insurance, so I’m extremely grateful for their help.”

That gratitude was echoed throughout the busy operating area on Friday, as staff wheeled patients in and out of surgery with clockwork precision and compassionate care.

 As David Smith, 48, an artist and laborer from Clearwater, was wheeled out of surgery, the dramatic improvement in his vision was apparent. “Oh, wow,” he exclaimed loudly, “It’s amazing!”

 After a thorough briefing by Cindy Dumas, R.N., on the procedure for administering eye drops, Mr. Smith shared his feelings about Dr. William Lahners, the surgeon who performed his surgery. “He’s the man! I love this guy,” he said. “My vision started getting progressively worse about six years ago. I was taking my life in my hands driving because I couldn’t see the traffic lights. I was starting to panic because I haven’t been able to work. Once I get back to work and get a little extra cash, I’d like to make a donation to help other people get this surgery.”

 Karen Julian, 50, of Port Charlotte is also looking forward to getting back to work. “This is going to be a major help,” she said. “I was in telemarketing, but haven’t been able to work because I can’t see the computer screen. Maybe I’ll go back to school now and train for something else.”

 To ensure ongoing funding of its charitable efforts, Center For Sight recently formed Center For Sight Foundation, a donor-advised fund of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Its mission is to provide world-class surgical care to prevent avoidable blindness in patients who cannot afford treatment. Center For Sight Foundation will support and expand the Mission Cataract project, with donations going directly to help purchase pre-operative, surgical and post-operative medications and supplies, including the artificial lenses that are implanted into patients’ damaged eyes.


To qualify, patients were required to have poor vision due to cataracts that is uncorrectable with glasses; no Medicare, Medicaid, or third-party insurance coverage; and no other means to pay for cataract surgery. Center For Sight’s nationally recognized ophthalmologic and optometric physicians, and other clinical professionals, individually contribute their services. Center For Sight donates the use of its state-of-the-art, AAAHC-accredited surgery center.

Cataract surgery is microsurgery. It uses an operating microscope and is performed inside the eye through an incision. The surgeon removes the eye’s natural crystalline lens, which has lost its transparency, causing blurred or distorted vision. Today, modern cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. With the advent of small incision cataract surgery, often stitches are not required. In most cases, the patient can use their eye soon after surgery and return home the same day.

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Dr. Shoemaker and Center for Sight. For more information contact us at

News Release by Grapevine Communications

USA gets organized on inbound medical tourism


Until recently US hospitals all acted independently on inbound medical tourism so there was no co-ordination or co-operation. There are several new initiatives as part of the US government’s aim to make the country the top global destination for travel, to improve the economy, and discourage outsourcing to other countries.

The US Cooperative for International Patient Programs (USCIPP) was recently launched as a means to increase the global competitiveness of US healthcare providers and to improve access to healthcare in the US for patients from around the world.

USCIPP is a partnership of the International Trade Administration of the US Department of Commerce, UHC, and Rush University. The aim is for domestic providers catering to international patients to share best practices and potentially grow their business collectively.

In November 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the Rush University of Chicago, in partnership with the University HealthSystem Consortium, a three-year $500,000 Market Development Cooperative Grant to help increase medical travel to the country. The idea is to stimulate growth through better data that tracks international patients and services, networking across institutions and the implementation of the best strategic business development practices. The grant is intended to support President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double exports (any form of U.S. medical care purchased by people outside the country) by 2015. The aim is to create millions of U.S. jobs with the influx of thousands of patients with a vast array of needs.

Plans include establishing a forum for international patient programme, creating a standardized set of data elements to be reported on international patients, determining the value of medical care exports, hosting a series of meetings focused on strategies to increase the global competitiveness of US health care providers, and developing strategic relationships with ministries of health and private payers abroad

The federal government has been making determined noises about encouraging international travel to the USA. The new Brand USA is a public private partnership with the mission of promoting increased international travel to the United States. The Department of Commerce is forecasting an increase in international arrivals of 6% a year in 2012-16. President Obama’s ambition is to make the USA the world’s top travel and tourism destination. In 2010, 59.7 million international visitors went to the America, generating some US$134 billion for the economy. The USA remains the world’s second most visited, after France. The US administration and UNWTO estimate that 62.5 to 63.0 million international travellers visited the USA in 2011. Tourism is already the USA’s most important export service industry. It is also seen as a way to boost job creation - an urgent priority in the current economic climate. Tourism represents nearly 3% of the country’s GDP and is responsible for some 7.5 million jobs, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Among the steps to be taken by the US administration to boost tourist arrivals is a streamlining of visa formalities. Efforts will be made to expand the Global Entry Program place this year, making it easier for frequent visitors to the USA (who have therefore already undergone a background check) to travel across US borders. More countries will be invited to join the list of those whose citizens are allowed to visit America without a tourist visa under the visa waiver programme. Steps will also be taken to accelerate travel formalities for booming markets such as Brazil, China and India.

Medical travel has representation in the new travel and tourism strategy, with the appointment of Steven Thompson of Johns Hopkins Medicine International, to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. Thompson is one of 32 member of the board, which advises the Commerce Department on policies and issues affecting travel and tourism. Steven Thompson commented,” There is a growing demand for US health services coming from the international community. The adoption of travel policies that encourage and support growth in international travel are vital.”

Medical Tourism News - March 22, 2012

Center For Sight Foundation

Florida Medical Retreat is pleased to share with you, Dr. David Shoemaker's Center For Sight Foundation. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness throughout the world. A cataract is the clouding of the eye's natural lens. Cataracts develop slowly as we age and usually do not cause problems in the early stages. As the cataract matures, the cloudiness increases resulting in significant loss of sight—even blindness. While cataracts are not preventable, they are treatable—with more than 99 percent of patients regaining useful vision after surgery.

Center For Sight Foundation is dedicated to restoring useful vision among area residents who can least afford vision care. When you contribute, you will support Center For Sight Foundation's primary initiative—Mission Cataract. Your dollars will go directly to help purchase the necessary pre-operative, surgical and post-operative medications and supplies-including the artificial lenses that are implanted into patients' damaged eyes. The services of Center For Sight's nationally-recognized ophthalmologic and optometric physicians, as well as other clinical professionals, are individually contributed by each member of the team. Even the use of the state-of the art, AAAHC-accredited surgery center is completely donated by Center For Sight.

To learn more about Center For Sight Foundation or to learn how you can apply for Mission Cataract click.

To learn more about Florida Medical Retreat and Dr. Shoemaker visit


Center For Sight to Donate 100 Free Cataract Surgeries as Part of National, Annual Mission Cataract Project

‘1Night 4Sight’ Blind Dinners to Benefit the Center For Sight Foundation, a New Charitable Fund to Prevent Blindness Due to Cataracts

 Sarasota, Florida – March 8, 2012 – Center For Sight is expecting to donate 100 free cataract surgeries for people who have no insurance and no means to pay on Friday, March 23, and Friday, March 30, 2012, at its state-of-the-art surgical center in Sarasota. Most patients are from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, with a few traveling from as far away as Alabama and Georgia. The surgeries are part of Mission Cataract USA, a nationwide project involving hundreds of eye surgeons throughout the United States. Thesurgeries will be performed by Dr. David Shoemaker, Dr. William Lahners, Dr. Joshua Kim and Dr. William Soscia. At a cost of approximately $4,000 per surgery, Center For Sight is donating over $400,000 in care this year.

 Center For Sight was one of the founding members of Mission Cataract USA, and has committed to providing free cataract surgery to indigent patients through the program for more than 16 years. This year’s efforts will put Center For Sight’s total value of donated services at a remarkable $2.4 million. Center For Sight is one of only a few eye centers in the United States to continually offer this service. This year, for the first time, Center For Sight physicians will perform the free surgeries on two consecutive Fridays so patients who have cataracts in both eyes can complete the procedures within two weeks, instead of waiting a year to have the second eye corrected.

 To ensure ongoing funding of its charitable efforts, Center For Sight recently formed Center For Sight Foundation, a donor-advised fund of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Its mission is to provide world-class surgical care to prevent avoidable blindness in patients who cannot afford treatment. Center For Sight Foundation will support and expand the Mission Cataract project, with donations going directly to help purchase pre-operative, surgical and post-operative medications and supplies, including the artificial lenses that are implanted into patients’ damaged eyes. Center For Sight’s nationally recognized ophthalmologic and optometric physicians, and other clinical professionals, individually contribute their services. Center For Sight donates the use of its state-of-the-art, AAAHC-accredited surgery center.

One of the Foundation’s first fundraising events is 1Night 4Sight, a series of invitation-only “Blind Dinners” featuring the cuisine of some of Sarasota-Manatee’s premier chefs at various locations. Potential donors and patrons will be gently blindfolded for a portion of the dinner so they may experience the sensory deprivation of blindness while savoring a sumptuous meal. The initial series of 1Night 4Sight dinners will take place March 15, 2012, at Viking Culinary Center in Lakewood Ranch, featuring Executive Chef Chris Covelli; March 20, 2012, at The Venice Art Center, featuring Executive Chef Jamil Pineda; and April 3, 2012, at Michael’s Wine Cellar in Sarasota, also with Executive Chef Jamil Pineda.

 “I have witnessed firsthand the impact that vision loss can have on people’s lives,” said Dr. David Shoemaker, Founder, CEO and Director of Cataract and Lens Replacement Surgery at Center For Sight. “I feel strongly that people in our community should not lose their vision to a treatable condition such as cataracts due to financial hardship. I’m pleased and honored to launch the Center For Sight Foundation to ensure we can continue to transform people’s lives by bringing them out of the darkness and back to full, productive lives.”

 To qualify, patients must have poor vision due to cataracts that is uncorrectable with glasses; no Medicare, Medicaid, or third-party insurance coverage; have no other means to pay for cataract surgery; and be a United States citizen. The goal of Mission Cataract USA is to eradicate blindness due to cataracts in our country by having Mission Cataract USA surgeons in all 50 states.

 Cataract surgery is microsurgery. It uses an operating microscope and is performed inside the eye through an incision. The surgeon removes the eye’s natural crystalline lens, which has lost its transparency, causing blurred or distorted vision. Today, modern cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure. With the advent of small incision cataract surgery, often stitches are not required. In most cases, the patient can use their eye soon after surgery and return home the same day.


Sarasota, FL. (February 14, 2012)  A research team today announced the launch of a European large-scale clinical trial of Nilvadipine, an Alzheimer's disease drug developed at the Roskamp Institute ( in Sarasota. More than 500 Alzheimer's patients in nine European countries will participate in the phase III trial designed to study the effectiveness of the medication.

"We believe that Nilvadipine blocks the production of amyloid proteins linked to Alzheimer's disease," said Roskamp Institute President and CEO Michael Mullan, M.D., Ph.D., who along with Associate Director Fiona Crawford, Ph.D., and Daniel Paris Ph.D. led the team that developed the drug. "That means Nilvadipine is aimed at addressing the actual disease, and not just the symptoms."

A consortium of medical teams from nine European countries is meeting in Ireland this week to plan the US$10 million multicenter study. Phase III studies are usually the last step in the regulatory process before a drug can move into clinical practice. The consortium, called NILVAD for Nilvadipine/Alzheimer's Disease, will involve participants from Ireland, England, Hungary, Greece, France, Sweden, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

The 500 participants, who have mild to moderate cognitive impairments, will begin the double-blind study this fall. Each participant will be followed for 18 months to see if the drug produces a change in cognitive abilities.

"We won't cure Alzheimer' disease without clinical trials," said Crawford, who added that major pharmaceutical companies have not been able to come up with an effective drug. "Currently, there are only eight interventions underway in phase III trial, and it's a tremendous achievement for a small research institute like ours to be part of the process."

In their Sarasota laboratories, Mullan, Paris and Crawford discovered that Nilvadipine, a drug approved in Europe for treatment of hypertension, can stop the accumulation of the amyloid proteins in the brain - a development that has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease. In 2010, the institute completed a phase I/II clinical trial in Europe that focused on Nilvadipine's safety. "The initial results indicated that patients were able to tolerate the drug safely and appeared to benefit from treatment," said Mullan.

In January, President Obama set a goal of developing effective ways to treat and prevent Alzheimer's disease by 2025 and launched the National Alzheimer's Plan. A committee of Alzheimer's experts is advising the government on how to finalize the plan. An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease or similar dementias, and the number of cases is growing as the population ages. By 2050, 13 million to 16 million Americans are projected to have Alzheimer's disease, costing $1 trillion in medical and nursing home expenditures.

Mullan and Crawford have been studying Alzheimer's disease for more than 20 years, moving from the UK to Florida in 1998 and then to Sarasota in 2003 with the opening of the Roskamp Institute, which is devoted to understanding causes and finding cures for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and addictions. The Institute utilizes a broad range of scientific approaches to understanding the causes of and potential therapies for these disorders with an emphasis on Alzheimer's disease.

The Roskamp Institute is a not-for-profit research Institute located in Sarasota and Tampa, Florida, that is dedicated to understanding the causes of, and finding cures for, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and addictions with an emphasis on Alzheimer's disease. The Institute's Memory Clinics also offer comprehensive cognitive and medical assessment toward differential diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and offers treatments and disease management options once the diagnostic evaluation is complete.

For more information regarding this news release, please contact Steve Klindt (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or 941-752-2949 x390.

Sarasota Memorial Named One of HealthGrades’ Elite “America’s 50 Best Hospitals”



Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Sarasota Memorial Health Care. Their system’s superior clinical  outcomes has resulted in HealthGrades’ highest ranking for 2012 – the elite  “America’s 50 Best Hospitals.™”

“America’s 50 Best Hospitals” rank  among the top 1% of the nation’s 5,000-plus hospitals for consistent clinical  excellence in HealthGrades annual studies. To be recognized with this  distinction, hospitals must achieve the lowest risk-adjusted mortality and  complication rates in the nation for the most consecutive years.  

According to the HealthGrades study, if all U.S. hospitals had  performed at the level of Sarasota Memorial, more than a half million Medicare  deaths could have been prevented between 2000 and 2010. Based on an analysis  of more than 150 million Medicare patient record, the study found that on  average, patients treated at America’s 50 Best Hospitals had a nearly 30%  lower risk of death.

“As our nation seeks to elevate the quality of  care at all hospitals, these elite facilities provide a roadmap for success,”  said Dr. Arshad Rahim, HealthGrades Director of Accelerated Clinical  Excellence. “Consumers increasingly are demanding greater transparency and  quality when selecting healthcare providers. These hospitals are delivering.  We commend them for their dedication to excellence in patient  care.”

Sarasota Memorial has been ranked among America’s 50 Best  Hospitals each year since its inception in 2007. It is the only hospital in  the Suncoast region (Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties) ever to  make the list. Unlike other hospital quality studies, HealthGrades  evaluates hospitals solely on patients’ clinical outcomes: risk-adjusted  mortality and in-hospital complications. Hospitals cannot opt out of the  study, pay for their rankings or achieve extra points for  reputation.

“This distinction is a testament to the dedication of our  physicians and entire staff,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKenzie. “At  the end of the day, the most important measure of our success comes from our  patients – it’s their healthy outcomes, experiences and satisfaction that  drive our quest for quality every day.”

In the past year, Sarasota  Memorial earned high marks from HealthGrades on multiple fronts, including its  other two top awards – Patient Safety Excellence Award (top 5% for patient  safety) and Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence (top 5% for  clinical excellence). And in October 2011, Sarasota Memorial also  received Five-Star ratings for clinical excellence in 23 categories:
•  Emergency Medicine • Treatment of Heart Attack  
• Treatment of  Heart Failure  
• Overall Orthopedic Services
• Spine Surgery
•  Hip Fracture Treatment
• Back and Neck Surgery  
• Back and Neck  Surgery (Spinal Fusion)  
• Overall Neurosciences Services
•  Treatment of Stroke
• Overall Pulmonary Services • Treatment of  Pneumonia
• Peripheral Vascular Bypass
• General Surgery
• GI  Procedures and Surgeries • Treatment of GI Bleed • Cholecystectomy  (gall bladder removal)
• Overall Critical Care • Treatment of Sepsis  
• Treatment of Pulmonary Embolism • Treatment of Respiratory Failure  
• Maternity Care • Women's Health  

About Sarasota  Memorial Health Care System Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a  regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and  depth of inpatient, outpatient and extended care services, with more than  700,000 patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s 806-bed acute care hospital  has been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s largest, safest and  best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient  services– from urgent care walk-in clinics and physician groups, laboratory  and diagnostic imaging centers, to home health and skilled nursing &  rehabilitation. For information, visit:

About  HealthGrades
HealthGrades, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is a  leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.  More than 200 million consumers use the HealthGrades websites, including and, to research, select, and connect with  a physician or hospital, and use its comprehensive information about clinical  outcomes, patient satisfaction, patient safety, and health conditions to make  more informed healthcare decisions and take action. Find more information  about our products and services at Follow us on Twitter  (@HealthGrades) and Facebook for news and updates. More information on how  HealthGrades guides Americans to their best health can be found at

Dr. Thomas Sweeney and Dr. Tan Ly to speak at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

Dr. Thomas Sweeney and Dr. Tan Ly will be speaking about Spine procedures at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 from 5:30pm-6:30pm.

Light refreshments will be served and seating is limited, call today to reserve your spot! 5741 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34233 Medical office building adjacent to Doctors Hospital.

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Doctors Hospital, Dr. Sweeney and Southeastern Spine Center. Dr. Sweeney specializes in minimally invasive Endoscopic Spine surgery, decompression, fusion and instrumentation up to three levels is performed with the Atavi@ System.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sweeney contact us or visit


Florida Medical Retreat Featured in Dreamscapes

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to be featured in Dreamscapes Winter/Spring issue. Dreamscapes is a Canadian travel magazine distributed in the Globe & Mail newspaper and found in newsstands and Air Canada Maple Leaf airport lounges. For a copy of the article please contact Florida Medical Retreat at (800) 643-0529.

Once you’ve made the decision to undergo surgery, why wait?

Call the Florida Medical Retreat and you’re halfway to recovery!

From your first encounter, you’re treated like a VIP with unparalleled concierge services, both medical and leisure. Your in-town patient care coordinator handles everything—from booking flights between Canada and Sarasota for you and your travelling companion(s) to requesting medical records, scheduling doctors’ appointments and reserving hotel rooms and car rentals. And when you’re ready to return home, your coordinator contacts your primary physician to arrange follow-up care tailored to your needs.

Personal attentive service isn’t the only exceptional aspect you experience at Florida Medical Retreat. Many of the highly-skilled surgeons at the top-ranked hospitals perform minimally-invasive procedures, including state-of-the-art da Vinci robotic surgery, which combines robotics and computer technology, and ASI (Anterior Supine Intermuscular) hip replacement surgery. The da Vinci and ASI techniques, among others, allow surgeons to perform delicate procedures with minimal pain and scarring, less injury to tissue, higher accuracy rates and shorter hospital stays.

Regardless of your procedure, your medical professionals have the latest tools and technology at their disposal, ensuring you receive the best possible care throughout your stay.

Following surgery, what better place to recover than in the midst of the finest beaches in the USA, fine dining restaurants and world-class opera, ballet and museums? Once you’re ready for an outing, your patient care coordinator handles all the details.

When you choose Florida Medical Retreat for your medical and surgical needs, all you need to focus on is yourself.

Travel Planner

For more information on what the Florida Medical Retreat in Sarasota can do for you, visit or call (647) 361-7587 or (800) 643-0529.

Find Your Balance


Dizzy, by Jack Wazen, M.D. with Deborah Mitchell

What you need to know about managing and treating balance disorders. Recent statistics show that more than 90 million Americans will experience dizziness at some time during their lives. The good news is that 80 to 90 percent of the sufferers can find relief. In this comprehensive guide, one of the nation's leading authorities on balance disorders tells the millions of sufferers what they can do to conquer dizziness- what it is, why they feel this way, and what they can do about it.

In Dizzy, Dr. Jack Wazen uncovers the root causes of this disabling, difficult-to-diagnose syndrome and shares the therapies and techniques that can return patients' lives to normal.

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Dr. Wazen. For more information, please contact Florida Medical Retreat or visit




Florida Medical Retreat Sees Another Reason to Visit Florida, Medical Care.


An estimated 85.9 million visitors came to Florida in 2011. That's an increase of 4.4 percent over 2010, states Visit Florida, Florida's official organization for visitor information. Florida Medical Retreat is a member of Visit Florida and shares in the excitement of this good news.

There are a variety of reasons folks come to Florida and Florida Medical Retreat would like to offer one more, Medical Care.  As Sarasota’s full service concierge for medical travel, Florida Medical Retreat connects worldwide clients with renowned surgeons, state-of-the-art hospitals offering advanced medical technology,  and premiere rehabilitation facilities in Sarasota.

Pictured above is one of Sarasota Memorial Hospital's four i-ORs (sometimes called intelligent operating rooms) that interconnect medical systems and hospital departments, using secure Internet connections to provide instant communication and visualization of medical information between a surgeon, consulting physicians, pathologists and other specialists in different or distant locations.  Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Sarasota Memorial Hospital and offer the latest in medical care and technology.

Patient Care Coordinators customize medical and travel itinerary services through a network of dedicated professionals ensuring every details is handled for the client's "Surgery in Paradise".

For more information visit or call (941) 552-3288.



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