Dignity Health also welcomes internationally recognized M.D., F.A.C.S. Edward Felix to the bariatric team.

Santa Maria, March 18, 2014 – Dignity Health of the Central Coast, which includes Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (AGCH), French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC), and Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC), is proud to announce that the Weight Loss Surgery Institute of the Central Coast has been accredited as a Level 2 facility under the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This accreditation demonstrates the commitment to delivering the highest quality care for its bariatric surgery patients.

To earn this accreditation, the Dignity Health Weight Loss Surgery Institute met the essential criterion that demonstrates its ability to support a bariatric surgical care program and the institutional performance requirements outlined by the BSCN Accreditation Standards. The Weight Loss Surgery Institute of the Central Coast provides both the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients, and the support and resources necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, both pre - and post - operatively.

In addition to this accreditation, Dignity Health is excited to welcome the weight loss surgery expert, Dr. Edward Felix, to the Weight Loss Institute of the Central Coast. Dr. Felix will join the only comprehensive weight loss surgery program created specifically to serve patients of the Central Coast from Santa Barbara to Salinas. Dr. Felix is an accomplished doctor who has performed over 2,000 gastric bypasses, 97 percent minimally-invasive. He is an internationally known expert in laparoscopic surgery, and is sought after for lectures and demonstrations of advanced techniques around the world. Dignity Health is proud to welcome Dr. Felix to the community, and is excited to see the impact he will have on the Institute.

Obesity is a rising problem in the United States that affects over 60 million people. Among many others, obesity can cause life - threatening disease such as hypertension, type II diabetes, sleep apnea and cancer. The Weight Loss Surgery Institute of the Central Coast offers surgical weight loss options to those affected by this epidemic as many of these diseases are addressed with surgical weight loss. The Weight Loss Surgery Institute of the Central Coast offers three Bariatric procedures: Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Banding, all using minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques. The Weight Loss Surgery Institute of the Central Coast also offers monthly seminars in San Luis Obispo and in Santa Maria for community members to learn if surgical weight loss is an option for them. The Weight Loss Surgery Institute of the Central Coast hosts monthly support groups for those individuals who have undergone surgical weight loss. Listings of these groups can be found online at www.dignityhealth.org/centralcoast.

About Dignity Health of the Central Coast

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. For more information visit www.arroyograndehospital.org; www.frenchmedicalcenter.org; www.marianmedicalcenter.org