Siesta Key Village’s Only Medical Facility Closes…

By Jane Bartnett

Siesta Key Village’s only medical office has closed their doors. For the past six years, the Sarasota Medical Center, in Davidson’s Plaza, at 5132 Ocean Blvd., has served the Siesta Key community. A walk-in urgent care medical clinic and a primary care center, the office was staffed by Dr. Joaquin J. Aristimuño, Dr. C. John Mason, and Dr. Pierre Nedelcovych. A sign on the office door states that the office is permanently closed and notes that patients may see Dr. Aristimuño and Dr. Mason at the Sarasota Medical Center’s primary office, located at 2830 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota.

The Sarasota Medical Center’s office in Davidson Plaza has closed. For the first time in 52 years, the Siesta Key Village will be without a doctor’s office

The lease on the 2, 904 foot square space will terminate at the end of August, Davidson Properties’Deborah Pruitt told the Siesta Sand. The office space will be available to lease as of September 1, 2020. She noted that the property is a “very good place” for a small medical practice. Fully renovated in 2014 when the Sarasota Medical Center moved in, the facility is equipped with a waiting room, patient examination rooms, as well as doctors’ offices.

Davidson Plaza, in the heart of Siesta Key Village, has been the home of a doctor’s office since 1968, when the plaza was built. At that time John Davidson, a young pharmacist and his physician friend, Dr. Freeman Epes, worked together to develop the land at 5124 Ocean Blvd. John Davidson opened what would be the first Davidson Drugs, and Dr. Epes’ opened his medical office next door. “It was very convenient for patients to have a drug store right next door to the doctor’s office,” said Pruitt, as she shared a piece of Siesta Key history.

Although for the first time in 52 years, there is no medical office in the Village, Siesta Key residents and visitors do have close access to urgent medical care should they need it. Within approximately three miles, the Siesta Sand found that by Google search there are three medical offices nearby. All however, are off the Key. They are:

  • American Family Care, Urgent Care – 2901 South Tamiami Trail, Phone: 941-208-1556, 2901 South Tamiami Trail, www.afcurgentcare.com/sarasota. Open Daily, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm, Monday – Saturday & 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday
  • Sarasota Family Medical & Urgent Care – 6813 South Tamiami Trail, Phone: 941-923-5861, www.sarasotafamilymedical.com, Monday – Saturday, 8 am- 4:30 pm
  • Sarasota Memorial Hospital Urgent Care Center at Stickney Point, 6331 South Tamiami Trail, Phone: 941-917-5678 www.smhurgentcare.com/locations/urgent-care-center-at-stickney-point, Open Daily: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The nearest hospital to Siesta Key is Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH), at 1700 South Tamiami Trail, Phone: 941-917-9000. The Emergency Room is open 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. An acute-care hospital with 839-beds, Sarasota Memorial offers a full line of outpatient services. In June 2020, it was named as one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by IBM Watson Health. Each year, SMH cares for more than one million patients. A regional referral center, SMH also has the distinction of being the only hospital in the state of Florida to have “consistently earned the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ highest five-star quality rating, since the evaluation system launched in 2016.”

Like many other small communities, Siesta Key faces strong competition for attracting a small primary care physicians group to the Village. According to a report in The New York Times, primary care and pediatric practices are among the least profitable to operate. Covid-19 has also made it harder for small medical practices to remain financially viable. In April, as a result of Covid-19’s impact, a group of associations representing major physician’s organizations wrote an open letter to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services requesting financial support for practicing medical doctors. The associations listed in the letter included the American Medical Association, the Florida Medical Association, and many more. “We are writing to request immediate financial assistance for physicians across the country who are taking heroic action to treat patients with the novel coronavirus, providing ongoing care for patients with chronic conditions and urgent needs, and incurring significant financial losses due to postponing non-essential procedures and visits,” the letter stated.

The question now remains, will a new medical office will find a home in the heart of Siesta Key?

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