SANTA MARIA, Calif. -

SANTA MARIA, Calif.

Marian Regional Medical Center held a ribbon cutting today for the grand opening of their Electrophysiology program. This program focuses on diagnosing and treating electrical activities of the heart, or heart rhythm disorders.

Doctors say some heart patients have been traveling as far south as Santa Barbara and as far north as San Luis Obispo - but now they can get that same level of care in Santa Maria.

"I have six stints in my heart," George Replogle said, who has a heart condition.

George Replogle knows first hand how important taking care of your heart is.

"Well I had a heart attack when I was in my mid-50's," Replogle said.

That's why he's pleased to hear that Marian Regional Medical Center is growing their heart center, which first opened in 1993.

Thursday afternooon, Marian Regional Medical Center introduced their newest addition with a ribbon cutting.

"The best equipment that's available anywhere you go, whether it's university level or research level, it's right here, right now," Marian Regional Medical Center Dr. Brett Gidney said.

Dr. Brett Gidney say patients living in the Northern Santa Barbara County area have been forced to drive hours to get treatment for a common irregularity - abnormal heart rhythm.

"They're going to be able to drive home to their own house and not have to spend the night in a hotel to be near a hospital," Gidney said.

The Electrophysiology program already has two innovative cardiac catherization labs that provide emergent and non-emergent heart care services. Doctors say with this multi-million dollar program addition, they can actually cure abnormal heart rhythm for some patients.  

1.5 million dollars of this project was funded by donations.  

"It's incredible, I'm excited to be a part of it," Gidney said.

"That's a good program, when you have medical problems you shouldn't have to drive very far..you don't want to drive very far," Replogle said.

The first day of procedures will be next Friday.