Skip to Main Content

Generous $500,000 Gift to French Hospital Medical Center Supports the Beyond Health Campaign

Posted in:
Local philanthropist opts to give back to hospital that cared for him

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – February 26, 2020 – French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) is pleased to announce a $500,000 gift to the Beyond Health campaign from Jim Sargen, long-time San Luis Obispo County resident. This gift will support the hospital’s current $130 million expansion project, which will add a new four-story patient care tower featuring single patient rooms in San Luis Obispo County. 

Sargen was a founding board member of the French Hospital Medical Center Foundation and past board officer, serving as Vice Chair. As a local philanthropist, Jim’s interest in French Hospital was peaked in 2004 when the hospital became a not-for-profit hospital. He started learning more about the hospital and the Foundation, eventually joining the Foundation Board in 2005 and serving for several years. As the creator and CEO of TriActive America, a local company that produces outdoor fitness equipment, he has always believed in the importance of good health.

A few years later, after personally experiencing the compassion and quality of care provided to patients at French Hospital, Jim started to consider how the future quality of health care would affect the lives of his family and friends, and what he could do to make sure his community had the best health care possible on the Central Coast.

“After having been admitted to French Hospital on two separate occasions, I had the opportunity to see firsthand how the hospital works, and I received over-the-top care each time,” says Jim Sargen. “As a long-time supporter of French, I see the initial concept of the hospital expansion coming to fruition, and it is fulfilling to me to be a part of that, as the hospital will serve our growing community for years to come.”

In recognition of his gift and due to his close ties with the department, Jim Sargen’s generosity will be recognized with the naming of French Hospital’s foundation office - the James P. Sargen Foundation Office. 

“Jim has been an avid supporter of French Hospital in many ways. We have deep appreciation for his philanthropic support of our campaigns, his creation of an outdoor Fitness Zone on our campus for the community and his leadership as a past member of our Foundation Board,” says Alan Iftiniuk, FHMC President and CEO.

With this gift, the hospital has $110 million committed, with $100 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 $10 million.

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

  • 56 new private patient rooms, bringing the total licensed bed count to 180 making it the largest hospital in San Luis Obispo County
  • The new Stan and Barbara Clark Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – a 16-bed  unit with state-of-the-art private family oriented rooms
  • An additional 10 Intensive Care Unit beds, bringing the total to 21- all private rooms
  • New front entrance, lobby and dining area
  • Swanson Family Chapel – a new interfaith chapel
  • Harold Miossi 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

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 early 2024.

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 member of Dignity Health Central Coast, 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: 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020