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Beyond Health Arrives on the Central Coast: Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine at French Hospital Welcomes Patients

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

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – February 19, 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 today’s highly anticipated opening of the new Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine. Welcoming patients to the innovative new facility will be a seamless process made possible by collaboration and teamwork by physicians, nurses, staff, and volunteers. 

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.

“After extensive planning and anticipation, we are elated to see our vision come to fruiton and welcome patients into this state-of-the-art facility,” says Alan Iftiniuk, President & CEO, French Hospital Medical Center. “We are providing our community with the most advanced emergency services department in San Luis Obispo County, an expectation our community deserves, and we look forward to ongoing expansion and modernization projects on our campus.”     

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Obispo County and a designated stroke center, FHMC experienced a significant increase in emergency room visits in an outdated and undersized facility built 45 years ago.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 lobby 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. To celebrate this significant milestone for the hospital and community, FHMC hosted an open house celebratory event in January with informational booths, tours of the new facility, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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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: 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020