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$350,000 Gift to French Hospital Medical Center Supports the Beyond Health Campaign

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Bob and Debbie Wacker Support Your New French Hospital

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – January 21, 2020 – French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) announced a $350,000 gift for the Beyond Health campaign from Bob and Debbie Wacker, long time San Luis Obispo County residents. This gift will support the hospital’s current $125 million expansion project, which will add a new four-story patient care tower and the only single patient rooms in San Luis Obispo County. 

The Wackers have a special understanding of the need for the expansion and single patient rooms. As a former cardiac patient, Bob Wacker’s positive experience at French Hospital inspired his passion for ensuring that the local community has access to advanced health care, leading him to become the Co-Chair for the Beyond Health Campaign Cabinet. As Chairman and Senior Partner at Wacker Wealth Partners, he also understands the important impact that health care can have on local businesses, the economy and the overall community. Debbie Wacker has been a volunteer at French Hospital for over 25 years, spending several hours a week helping patients and visitors, giving her a unique insight to the needs of patients.

“It’s important for us to be invested in our community hospital, to make sure that we all have great health care here locally, when we need it. We want the best care for our family, our friends and clients, and our wonderful community, and supporting French Hospital is our way of doing that,” said Bob.

The Wacker’s generosity will be recognized with the naming of French Hospital’s Auditorium in the Copeland Health Education Pavilion as the Wacker Family Auditorium.

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. To date, the Beyond Health campaign has raised more than $9 million.

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 patient care tower 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 honored by the Wacker’s generous support of French Hospital and their dedication to helping us go Beyond Health to bring world class care to the Central Coast. Bob’s guidance as Co-Chair of the Beyond Health campaign and Debbie’s tireless dedication as a hospital volunteer are also truly inspiring.”

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 is scheduled to open in February 2020. The new ER 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 provide 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: 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020