The Eisenhower Medical Center is a not-for-profit hospital located in Rancho Mirage, California. It was named one of the top one hundred hospitals in the United States in 2005 and is adjacent to the world-famous Betty Ford Center.
Named for U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the hospital credits its initial creation to two events in 1966 when entertainer Bob Hope was asked to lend his name to a charity golf tournament and to serve on the board of the hospital that would be built from the tournament's proceeds. The original 80 acres (320,000 m) of land were donated by Bob and Dolores Hope and both helped raise private funds for the hospital's construction. Construction began in 1969; the groundbreaking ceremony was attended by President Richard Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew, Governor Ronald Reagan, and entertainers Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, and Lucille Ball. The main Eisenhower hospital opened in November 1971, containing 289 beds. Among the early trustees were actress Martha Hyer (the wife of film producer Hal B. Wallis) and Roy W Hill.
The now world-famous Betty Ford Center was established in 1982 by former First Lady Betty Ford, a resident of Rancho Mirage. The three original medical buildings were named for local philanthropists Mr. and Mrs. Walter Probst, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kiewit and Mrs. Hazel Wright. Philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg donated funds to establish the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences. A $212.5 million, four story, state-of-the-art addition to the hospital, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Pavilion, opened for patient care on November 2, 2010. Lee Annenberg donated over $100 million to Campaign Eisenhower, Phase II. Other institutions on the campus include the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center and the Dolores Hope Outpatient Care Center. Dolores Hope has served in the capacities of President, Chairman of the Board and Chairman Emeritus since 1968 and has participated in every major decision regarding the hospital since then.
By 1990, the hospital's 3000th open heart surgical procedure was performed. The work that the Hopes placed in the Eisenhower Medical Center continued to earn them worldwide accolades and honors, including a combined total of sixty honorary doctorates. The center's twenty-fifth anniversary in 1996 saw the Hopes receive its most prestigious award, the Eisenhower Centennial Award.
The world's attention was turned to Eisenhower Medical Center in January, 2006 when President Gerald Ford was admitted for sixteen days for treatment of pneumonia. Upon Gerald Ford's death on December 26, 2006 his body was taken to Eisenhower Medical Center where Betty Ford issued a press release confirming his death. His body remained there until the start of funeral services on December 29. Former United States Chief of Protocol and philanthropist Leonore Annenberg died at Eisenhower on March 12, 2009.
The facility's new Walter and Leonore Annenberg Pavilion, an inpatient pavilion connected to the north end of the existing hospital, opened in late 2010. Ground-breaking for the project was held three years earlier, in 2007. The $215 million project was the twelfth-largest construction project undertaken in the State of California.