Skip to Main Content

$2 Million Gift to French Hospital Medical Center Supports the Beyond Health Campaign

Posted in:
Bill and Cheryl Swanson Support New Chapel and Robotic Surgery

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA, - November 7, 2019 - French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) announced today a $2,000,000 lead gift for the “BEYOND health” campaign from local philanthropists Bill and Cheryl Swanson. This transformative gift will support a new Chapel to be built on the hospital campus as well as the Robotic Surgery Program at the hospital.  In honor of this incredible gift, the new Chapel will be named the “Swanson Family Chapel” and the Robotic Surgery Program shall be designated the “Swanson Robotic Surgery Program”.

The “BEYOND health” campaign was launched in June to support a $125 million campus expansion, including a four-story Patient Care Tower which will double the hospital’s capacity. The name “BEYOND health” was chosen to reflect the hospital’s commitment to advancing medical care and holistic services beyond the traditional community hospital.

With this gift, the hospital has $104 million committed, with $95 million being invested by Dignity Health and the balance coming from many private donors in San Luis Obispo County.

The new Swanson Family Chapel, will be constructed next to the hospital’s beautiful healing garden. The interfaith Chapel with a seating capacity of 40-50 people, will provide a serene place for pause and reflection and complements the hospital’s holistic approach to health care. 

The Swanson Robotic Surgery Program offers surgeons superior visualization, enhanced dexterity and unparalleled precision compared to traditional approaches. Using robotics, surgeons are able to perform complex procedures through a state-of-the-art minimally invasive approach.

In making their generous gift, Bill and Cheryl Swanson noted, “We are pleased to be able to help support French Hospital Medical Center in their mission of advancing medical care and holistic services.  Our gift touches both of these important goals for our community.”

The FHMC Expansion project called “Your New French Hospital” will include:

  • 52 new private patient rooms, bringing the total licensed bed count to 180 making it the largest hospital in San Luis Obispo County
  • A 16-bed (all state-of-the-art private family oriented rooms) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • An additional 10 Intensive Care Unit beds, bringing the total to 21- all private rooms
  • New front entrance, lobby and dining area
  • A new interfaith chapel
  • A rooftop garden terrace providing space for sensory stimulation, socializing and outdoor activities
  • Expanded space for imaging, labs, materials management, food preparation, and more
  • Enhanced and advanced technology and services
  • A helistop helicopter landing pad for critical emergencies
  • New parking structure will include an additional 243 spaces

A four-story 85,000-square-foot hospital addition and a parking structure will be built to accommodate the growth, with construction on the parking area to start next year. The expansion is planned for completion by 2022.

Alan Iftiniuk, President and CEO of French Hospital stated, “We are so pleased and honored by the Swanson’s continued support of French Hospital’s commitment to providing the very best medical care to the communities we are privileged to serve.  Their gift allows us to help fulfill our pledge to bring “best practices” in patient care to San Luis Obispo, that is, in treating and caring for mind, body and spirit.  We are pleased to recognize the Swanson’s generosity with two prominent naming opportunities on our campus.”

In recent years, with the full-fledged support of our many benefactors, FHMC has established the renowned Copeland, Forbes & Rossi Cardiac Care Center, the innovative George Hoag Family Hybrid Surgical Suite, the Copeland Health Education Pavilion and the Stollmeyer Family Birthing Center and Acute Care Nursery. The new Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine currently under construction is planned for opening in early 2020. The ER expansion will accommodate significant growth in emergency room visits, driven in part by French Hospital’s growing reputation as a premier cardiac center and designated stroke center.

Since Dignity Health acquired French Hospital in 2004, more than $100 million (non-inclusive of the new ER or the new tower project) has been invested in the hospital to transform and modernize the facility. French Hospital has also provided nearly $30 million in community benefits to support various non-profit community programs.

To learn more about the project, visit

# # #

About French Hospital Medical Center
French Hospital Medical Center, located in San Luis Obispo, California, is rated one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the nation and one of the Top 50 Cardiac Hospitals in the nation by Thomson Reuters. The Copeland, Forbes, and Rossi Cardiac Care Center provides the latest innovative cardiac and imaging technology on the Central Coast.

The hospital’s current modernization and redesign project is an example of the commitment to meet the growing needs of the community with lifesaving advancements in medicine coupled with excellent, compassionate care. The hospital is home to the unique Hearst Cancer Resource Center offering free education, resources and support to cancer patients and their families. French is a Dignity Health member of the Central Coast which also includes Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, CA and Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, CA.

Dignity Health of the 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: 

Thursday, November 07, 2019