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Beyond Health Arrives on the Central Coast: French Hospital Invites Community to Celebrate Grand Opening of Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine

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Expansion project houses the most advanced emergency services center in San Luis Obispo County

Flier - Grand Opening of the Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine


SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – January 6, 2020 – As part of French Hospital Medical Center’s (FHMC) Beyond Health movement to redefine health care on the Central Coast, we are proud to announce the highly anticipated completion and grand opening of the new Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine. This marks the first of many efforts that FHMC is making towards bringing the world-class care that San Luis Obispo residents need.  

In recognition of this accomplishment, hospital staff, physicians, volunteers, board members, donors, and community members are invited to attend the Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, January 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Attendees of this free event will enjoy complimentary food and beverages, health and wellness booths, games and prizes, live presentations, self-guided tours of the new facility, and more. The event will offer fun and education for the whole family! Come celebrate the beginning of a lifelong journey to continually exceed expectations and deliver the best care on the Central Coast.

In March of 2017, FHMC received an extraordinary donation of $5.5 million from Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer. This transformational gift, the largest gift in the history of the hospital, supported the much needed expansion and modernization of emergency services for San Luis Obispo County. The new Emergency Department will deliver personalized care for the unique Central Coast lifestyle with the compassionate and tender care that FHMC has provided all along. As the sole public benefactors, and in recognition of their incredible generosity, the new emergency department is named the Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine at French Hospital Medical Center.

 “French Hospital continues its pledge to remain at the forefront of health care, and we are eternally grateful to those, such as the Oppenheimer’s, that have chosen to support our facility by contributing to our vision of exceptional care for our community,” says Alan Iftiniuk, President & CEO, French Hospital Medical Center. “We are eager to share our Emergency Department expansion with the community, and look forward to the future of French Hospital.”     

Emergency services are the cornerstone and often the front door to a vibrant and accessible health care system, and an essential part of the Beyond Health movement. As the premier cardiac center in San Luis Obispo County and a designated stroke center, FHMC experienced a significant increase in emergency room visits in an outdated and undersized facility built 45 years ago. To continue providing the care the community deserves from French Hospital, an expansion was inevitable. 

The new facility was designed for a high volume of emergency patients with a very strong commitment to comfort, efficiency, holistic healing, and privacy. It was carefully designed with patient comfort and safety in mind utilizing best-in-class modalities and technologies. At the forefront of cutting-edge emergency medicine, the new building features 18 private treatment rooms compared to the five bed ward and semi-private rooms that previously existed. Specialized rooms are designated for critical care, geriatric patients, trauma, infectious disease isolation, pediatrics, and orthopedic emergencies, as well as fast-track beds for patients with less urgent conditions. It also features specialized exam accommodations for patients experiencing behavioral health related issues. It also provides a sizable waiting area for families, essential triage rooms, and a centralized nurse’s station with sophisticated monitoring capabilities. 

This major expansion project will be completed in two phases - the first of which is complete - adding 8,600 square feet to the hospital and more than doubling the space of the existing emergency department. When both phases are completed, the new emergency services center will be housed in approximately 12,600 square feet of new and/or fully renovated space. 

In addition to the much needed emergency expansion, French Hospital is going beyond with a momentous transformation of its hospital campus. 

This incredible undertaking will transcend the facility into the hospital of the future, far exceeding the needs and expectations of our growing community through advanced technologies, highly skilled personnel, and a new state-of-the art facility. The elaborate $125 million-plus project is being partially funded through the Beyond Health fundraising campaign. The expansion will include:

  • A new four-story 85,000 square foot patient care tower
  • 56 new single 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 single 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

To learn more, visit


About French Hospital Medical Center
French Hospital Medical Center, located in San Luis Obispo, California, is rated among the top hospitals in the nation.  The Copeland, Forbes, and Rossi Cardiac Care Center provides the latest innovative cardiac and imaging technology, and is home to the Hearst Cancer Resource Center offering free education, resources and support to cancer patients and their families. 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 surgery centers, technologically-advanced laboratories, imaging centers and a full service home health agency; all recognized for quality, safety and service. 

About Beyond Health
Beyond Health is a movement to treat the mind, body, spirit and community, creating wellness and happiness for every life we touch. We recognize the immediate need to grow with our community’s ever-changing health care demands and go beyond expectations to deliver the world-class health care that SLO residents deserve. Our community’s need is the foundation of our Beyond Health campaign and the purpose of all our efforts. And, with the support of generous donors we will continue to make monumental strides to do just that. Learn more at



Publish date: 

Monday, January 06, 2020