Mariners Hospital - Tavernier, FL

  • Location: Tavernier, Florida
  • Award: Evidence-Based Leadership Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: August 2013

About Mariners Hospital

Mariners Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital, is the only hospital serving the Upper Florida Keys, a geographic area south of Miami that stretches for 37 miles across islands and water. The not-for-profit hospital has been a community resource since 1962 when it opened as a 9-bed facility. Today, Mariners is part of Baptist Health South Florida (BHSF), the largest faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization in South Florida. It employs more than 250 people and has a medical staff of more than 130 physicians. The hospital offers a robust array of services including 24-hour emergency care, inpatient and outpatient surgery, diagnostic image tests, physical therapy, speech therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation.

Although our primary service area is the Upper Keys, people from throughout the 110-mile island chain come to Mariners for healthcare services available exclusively at Mariners.  For example, Mariners is the only Keys hospital to offer medical oncology services. When Mariners introduced this service in 2012, the community greeted it with much enthusiasm; having chemotherapy available at Mariners meant patients no longer had to make a grueling 2-hour drive to Miami several times a week for care. 

Mariners also has the only hospital-based hyperbaric chamber in the Keys. The chamber’s oxygen therapy is used to care for non-healing wounds, diabetic wounds and burns as well as to treat victims of diving accidents, radiation tissue damage and carbon monoxide poisoning. We also offer the only diabetes care center and cardiac rehabilitation program as well as the only hospital-based, accredited sleep center in the Keys.

Our Studer Path

Back in 2006, Mariners patient satisfaction and quality numbers were below our targets. At that time, two decisions were made.  One was to renew our commitment to service and operational excellence.  The second was to partner with the Studer Group to help us in our quest for excellence.  As the partnership progressed, we began to hardwire tools that would help us improve our numbers.  Among the tools we adopted were:

  • Rounding
  • Thank You notes
  • Key words at key times
  • AIDET®
  • Employee appreciation events
  • Employee recognition
  • Callbacks after discharge
  • Quarterly Leadership Development Institutes

Since partnering with Studer, we have seen dramatic improvement in our numbers in all areas -- patient satisfaction, quality measures, employee engagement and physician satisfaction.

Today, our numbers are at the highest ends of the scale.  Mariners Hospital consistently leads all BHSF hospitals in quality and patient care. The most current HCAHPS satisfaction data (April 2011-March 2012) shows we received a patient experience rating (combination of survey respondents who rated their stay a “9” or “10” and survey respondents who choose the option, “Yes, I would definitely recommend this hospital) of 92%. This rating made placed Mariners in the top 1% of hospitals in America for patient satisfaction. When you compare that rate with the national average of 69.5% and the Florida state average of 66.5%, you realize Mariners is performing at a very high level. During the April 2011-March 2012 timeframe, we had six consecutive months when 100% of our patients would recommend Mariners to family and friends. 

The excellent numbers don’t stop with patient satisfaction. In 2012, Mariners Hospital’s employee engagement was the highest of the BHSF hospitals.  In 2013, our scores showed 64% of our employees were actively engaged, versus 44% which is the average percent in our survey company’s best in class category.

Our physician satisfaction numbers remain high. The 2012 survey showed Mariners in the 89th percentile for overall physician satisfaction with hospital and the 97th percentile for physicians’ overall satisfaction with nursing
Not only did Mariners pass our most recent The Joint Commission inspection with flying colors, but the surveyors commended us for 6 best practices and suggested we submit them to The Joint Commission Leading Practice Library.

This emphasis on excellence in patient care and patient satisfaction is part of Mariners culture. Mariners Hospital is unique due to a phenomenal group of professionals who continually achieve outstanding clinical outcomes and high patient satisfaction levels. Our incredible success can be attributed to every one of our employees -- a warm, caring family focused on serving the community’s healthcare needs.


We have received numerous awards since our Studer relationship began.  Some of the most recent include:

  • In 2013, Mariners Hospital received notice from VHA, a national healthcare network, that it  ranks first among the 3,104 hospitals nationally for which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has inpatient value-based purchasing (VBP) program data. The VBP program assesses hospital quality performance using measures for clinical process of care, patient experience of care, patient outcome and efficiency.
  • Mariners Hospital received Quality Respiratory Care Recognition (QRCR) for 2013 from the American Association for Respiratory Care. This is the sixth consecutive year Mariners Hospital received the award, which recognizes the outstanding respiratory care patients receive at the hospital. 
  • Pathway to Excellence designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2012.  Mariners was the first hospital in the state of Florida to receive this designation, which serves as confirmation of Mariners’ commitment to nursing excellence and an environment where collaboration between all hospital departments is highly valued and supported.
  • In 2012, VHA, a national healthcare network, honored Mariners Hospital for the second year in a row with the 2012 Leadership Award for Clinical Excellence.
  • 2011 Leapfrog Award for Outstanding Rural Hospital. Mariners Hospital was one of only three hospitals in the nation to receive this designation, which showcases the commitment of the Mariners team to providing the highest quality of patient care.


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