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French Hospital Medical Center Receives Prestigious Pulmonary Hypertension Association Accreditation

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Hospital is One of First Three in Country to Receive Designation.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – July 10, 2017 – French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) has been awarded the prestigious recognition as a Regional Clinical Program for its capacity to deliver high-quality care to people diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a debilitating disease of the lungs that affects the functioning of the heart and can lead to heart failure. The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) granted this new accreditation status to only three facilities in the nation. 

Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure specifically referring to the circuit that delivers blood to and from the lungs and heart. If the pressure rises high enough in these arteries due to blockages, the heart has to work harder to pump the blood to the lungs. This added effort by the heart can lead to heart failure when the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood to the lungs. Pulmonary hypertension is a complex, life-threatening disease and often misdiagnosed. It is not unusual for a proper diagnosis to be given at an advanced stage of the disease.

Some types of pulmonary hypertension are serious and can lead to death, whereas other types are not. This is when effective treatment can minimize symptoms and improve overall quality of life for someone diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. 

The accreditation means a program demonstrates a dedication to making a proper diagnosis. It also means a program has the capacity to appropriately and comprehensively manage PH patients through a set of evidence-based criteria. Programs that applied for accreditation were subject to a rigorous review process which assessed all related aspects of specialized care for patients with pulmonary hypertension. This entailed work with departments such as the intensive care unit, adult services, social work, nutrition, informatics, rehabilitation services, and pharmacy. Comprehensive education and training of hospital staff were an integral part of this process.

“This extraordinary achievement is the culmination of seven years of growth and hard work,” explains Alan Iftiniuk, President & CEO of French Hospital Medical Center. “The high standards of this certification recognize our ability to provide clinical care for pulmonary hypertension patients, putting it on par with major academic centers. Almost every department was evaluated in some way. We are quite fortunate to have such dedicated staff who saw this project through to success.”

As part of their Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center Program, PHA intends for these new regional clinical programs to increase access to high-quality, collaborative care for pulmonary hypertension patients. Through increased coordination with PHA-accredited Centers of Comprehensive Care, standardized data collection and management, and evidence-based guidelines and outcomes, PHA envisions an elevated standard of care for these patients. The two other newly accredited programs are Sentara Norfolk General Hospital’s Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic in Norfolk, Virginia, and the University of Connecticut Health’s Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program in Farmington.
About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., with a growing list of chapters across the country, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension organization. Its mission is to find ways to prevent and cure pulmonary hypertension and provide hope for the community through support, education, research, advocacy and awareness. PHA does this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families and medical professionals. Among its programs, PHA facilitates more than 275 support groups around the country and delivers continuing education for medical professionals through PHA Online University. For more information or to support PHA with a donation, go to


About French Hospital Medical Center
French Hospital Medical Center, located in San Luis Obispo, California, has been named one of the Nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics, and is rated among the top hospitals in the nation for cardiac, orthopedic and GI services. French Hospital has achieved prestigious designation as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. The Copeland, Forbes, and Rossi Cardiac Care Center provides the latest innovative cardiac and imaging technology. The hospital is home to the unique Hearst Cancer Resource Center offering free education, resources and support to cancer patients and their families. In addition, an expansion and modernization project is underway at French Hospital, including construction of the Copeland Health Education Pavilion, which will provide community access to comprehensive health care education resources free of charge.  

French is a Dignity Health Central Coast hospital which also includes Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, CA, Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, CA, St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, CA and St. John’s Pleasant Valley in Camarillo, CA. Dignity Health Central Coast is an integrated network of top quality hospitals, physicians from the most prestigious medical schools, and comprehensive outpatient services including primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically-advanced laboratories and imaging centers and a full service home health agency; all recognized for quality, safety and service.  Each hospital is supported by an active philanthropic Foundation to help meet the growing health care needs of our communities. 

Publish date: 

Monday, July 10, 2017