CLEARWATER, Fla.-The two foundations supporting three-hospital Morton Plant Mease Health Care have agreed to merge to form the Morton Plant Mease Foundation. The new foundation has total assets of $35 million. The merger decision primarily was made to save about $200,000 in annual expenses by eliminating duplicative staff and services, said V. Raymond Ferrara, the new foundation's treasurer. The savings represent 11% of the foundation's budget. "We can use the savings to either increase our endowment fund or grant more to the hospitals," Ferrara said. Last year, both foundations granted $4.3 million to various projects at Morton Plant Mease Health Care, he said.
SARASOTA, Fla.-Sarasota Memorial Hospital approved a $150 million expansion plan that includes a proposal to build a $25 million freestanding women's and children's hospital. The expansion plan is intended to counter recent moves by Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. to increase women's and children's services at its 168-bed Doctors Hospital, which is located about five miles west of 807-bed Sarasota Memorial. Besides the freestanding hospital, which could open in three years pending state approval, the public hospital also plans to spend $46 million to expand its cardiovascular program, $1.5 million to expand gastrointestinal and endoscopy services and $16 million to build a 1,000-car parking garage.