News Center

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Former Sagamore chief appointed VP of managed care contracting

INDIANAPOLIS – Gregory Yust has been named as vice president of managed care contracting at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

He is responsible for coordinating managed care contracting efforts and payor relationships for the collective network of 13 hospitals in Indiana and Illinois owned and operated by the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc.

Yust comes to St. Francis from Sagamore Health Network, Inc., where he served as president and chief executive officer from 1997 until last January. At Sagamore, he headed the second largest managed care network in the state and was responsible for the long-range strategic planning and positioning of the company in the health-care marketplace.

“Greg established strong fiscal controls and ensured sound operational management that resulted in effective managed care services and products at Sagamore,” said Jay R. Brehm, executive vice president and regional chief financial officer at St. Francis. “He brings great insight and experience to his new role at St. Francis.”

From 1987 to 1997, Yust was vice president of managed care services at St. Vincent Hospital. He coordinated activities with medical staff representation and was responsible for developing the St. Vincent Care Management Organization.

Prior to that, Yust worked at Riverview Hospital in Noblesville as a controller, responsible for maintaining the hospital’s general ledger and associated accounting functions. From 1978 to September 1982, he performed accounting, financial and rate analyses for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Indiana.

A certified public accountant, Yust earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ball State University. He holds leadership and membership positions with several professional organizations, including the Hospital Financial Management Association.

An Indianapolis resident, Yust is married and has three children.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

St. Francis, Johnson Memorial partnership focuses on imaging services

GREENWOOD, Ind. – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers and Johnson Memorial Hospital, along with Radiology Associates of Indianapolis, have forged a partnership to provide high-quality imaging services to Greenwood and White River Township residents.

The recently established St. Francis-Johnson Memorial Imaging Center partnership was created to meet the growing diagnostic imaging needs in Johnson County and nearby areas with high-quality, clinically advanced care in a convenient and comfortable setting.

Located at 3147 W. Smith Valley Rd., the center offers a full range of radiological services, including computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, X-ray and laboratory services.

The center’s diagnostic testing rooms are designed with patient comfort in mind. The Imaging Center is the first in the state to offer ambient technology. When patients enter the CT scan suite, they can select soothing images that are projected on the walls and ceiling – complete with corresponding sounds.

The center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon. Call 317-851-2888 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also always welcome.
The facility formerly operated under the name of the St. Francis Imaging Center.

For more information about the St. Francis-Johnson Memorial Imaging Center go to

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Physician brings varied experience to Kendrick Family Practice

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Halina K. Harding, D.O., has established a practice at Kendrick Family Practice of St. Francis Medical Group.

Harding most recently was director of the Family Practice Residency Program at Westview Hospital and medical director of its Family Practice Training Clinic. She also was affiliated with Speedway Family Physicians.

From 1999 to 2000, she was in practice with Waikea Primary Care in Hilo, Hawaii, where she was involved in a full spectrum of family care, including admissions and intensive care. Prior to then, she held several leadership and clinical appointments with Grandview Hospital and Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio.

Harding earned her doctor of osteopathy at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1987 and completed her residency at Oakland General Hospital, Madison Heights, Mich. She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.

Kendrick Family Practice is at 1001 Hadley Road, Suite 101, Mooresville. For appointments, call (317) 831-9340.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nurse assumes manager’s role at St. Francis Weight Loss Center

INDIANAPOLIS – Pamela A. Fugate, R.N., has been appointed manager of the St. Francis Weight Loss Center.

She comes to the center from Cooperative Managed Care Services of Indianapolis, where she was responsible for support nursing staff utilization of government and private health plans. Prior to that, she was a nurse in the emergency department at Community Hospitals of Indianapolis.

Fugate was an advance case manager for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield from 2003 to 2005, and was previously served as director of quality assurance for Community Physicians of Indiana.

Fugate recently earned a master’s in nursing at Anderson University and is expected to complete a master’s in business administration from that institution in May. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the Indiana University School of Nursing and an associate’s in medical assisting at Tampa College in Florida.

She holds memberships in several professional organizations and has received numerous academic and community service honors.

More information about the St. Francis Weight Loss Center and surgical procedures is at

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Francis Heart Center offers low-cost cardiac, vascular and bone screenings

INDIANAPOLIS -- The St. Francis Heart Center is sponsoring LifeLine Screening for adults in March and April at several south-side locations.

These preventive screenings are noninvasive and use ultrasound to test for four conditions:

Peripheral artery disease, sometimes known as hardening of the arteries, is a blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs. PAD—sometimes referred to as peripheral vascular disease, may lead to loss of limbs and may be an indicator of further cardiovascular problems.

Carotid artery disease occurs when there is a blockage in the arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain. Carotid artery disease is the No. 1 cause of stroke, a leading cause of disability and death in the U.S.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is an enlargement in the lining of the artery that leads from the heart to the lower abdomen. Rupture of an AAA often results in sudden death.

Osteoporosis causes bones to weaken and become brittle and can lead to fractures. Usually, osteoporosis develops when you have low levels of calcium and other minerals in your bones.

Screenings dates and locations are:

March 20: Knights of Columbus, 695 Pushville Road, Greenwood
April 4: Ritter Avenue Free Methodist Church, 1645 N. Ritter Ave., Indianapolis
April 25: Grace Assembly of God, 6822 North U.S. 31, Whiteland

The price for all four screenings is $129. Individual tests are $45 each. Tests take about 45 minutes to complete.

Registration is required for these valuable screenings. To make an appointment, call toll-free at 1-800-324-1851.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Rheumatology discussion on tap at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Rheumatology, a medical specialty that hinges largely on arthritis and other maladies in the joints, muscles and bones, is the focus of a special seminar Friday, March 28, at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville.

The discussion, which is open to the public, will be led by William A. Kcomt, M.D., who recently joined the Mooresville medical staff. The event gets under way at 6:30 p.m.

Kcomt, a member of St. Francis Medical Group, specializes in the management of neck, shoulder and lower back pain; the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, inflammatory muscle and joint conditions; and prevention of fractures.

Kcomt’s practice is in the Rheumatology Center, Family Medical Pavilion at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, Suite 160,1001 Hadley Rd.

Midwest Heart Valve Center offers unique, full spectrum of care to patients

INDIANAPOLIS – Research shows that if a person with a heart valve condition is followed on a regular basis by a specialist, treatment can prevent damage to the heart.

That’s the thrust behind the newly established Midwest Heart Valve Center – the only center in central Indiana where all the patients’ needs are met for heart valve disease, with specially trained physicians and staff experienced in the diagnosis, treatment, repair and replacement of heart valves.

The center pools the expertise of physicians at the St. Francis Heart Center, in collaboration with Indiana Heart Physicians and Cardiac Surgery Associates. The center’s day-to-day team is A. O. Akinwande, M.D.; Marc W. Gerdisch, M.D.; Mark A. Jones, M.D.; Monica Khot, M.D.; Umesh Khot, M.D., Irwin Labin, M.D.; Richard Shea, M.D.; Nicola Francalancia, M.D.; and Manesh Parikshak, M.D.

Valves are leaflets in the heart that allow for proper blood flow between heart chambers. Heart valve disease occurs when a valve either fails to open properly or fails to close completely. The sounds created by these abnormalities are commonly referred to as “

Services at the center include a multidisciplinary clinic at Indiana Heart, offering echocardiography, evaluation by heart valve specialists, patient education, and dental recommendations. Each patient leaves with a personalized care plan.

The American College of Cardiology Guidelines for Heart Valve Disease makes it clear that patients should be referred for repair of the mitral valve instead of replacement whenever possible.

St. Francis has ensured that people have access to these life extending treatments. Repair is the most frequently performed mitral valve surgery at St Francis.

According to St. Francis medical experts, it is easier to replace the valve, but when a person has a valve replacement, they have to deal with the long term risks of the replacement, including stroke, lifelong anti-coagulation for mechanical valves and valve deterioration for biologic valves. When surgery is timed properly and the valve is repaired, these issues are avoided and the person can be restored to a normal life expectancy.

Valve disease can cause damage to the heart before a person notices any symptoms. It is important that anyone with a valve that does not function normally is followed appropriately. The Midwest Heart Valve Center provides patients ongoing follow-up and care plan adjustments to ensure that their hearts remain healthy.

More information about the Midwest Heart Valve Center is at Those interested also can call toll-free, 1-877-788-2583.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

St. Francis Heart Center surgeon uses ‘cool’ laser to treat arterial blockages

INDIANAPOLIS – A patient with severe peripheral artery disease has been successfully treated with a new minimally invasive procedure performed for the first time at the St. Francis Heart Center.

Cardiologist William J. Berg, M.D., recently performed the laser ablation procedure using a device developed by Spectranetics, a Colorado Springs-based manufacturer of cardiovascular treatment equipment.

Laser ablation is a procedure that eliminates blockages within peripheral arteries in a patient’s legs. It uses an excimer, or "cool" laser that produces pulsed bursts of light energy transmitted along flexible glass fibers encased in catheters. The device is easily passed through arteries and veins.

Light energy is then focused on the blockages and vaporizes them into tiny particles that are absorbed into the bloodstream. The procedure restores blood flow, thus saving limbs and improving patients’ overall health.

In contrast to the long recovery time required after bypass surgery, this new procedure is performed within one to two hours, followed by up to two days for recovery.

"Patients experience very little, if any, discomfort during the procedure," said Berg, a physician with Indiana Heart Physicians at St. Francis.

PAD is a cardiovascular disease that restricts or blocks blood flow in the legs. Arterial blockages, or hardening of the arteries, occur when plaque, thrombus or calcium builds up along artery walls. If left untreated it can lead to sores that do not heal, or heal slowly, potentially resulting in gangrene and amputation.

Those suffering from PAD are at increased risk for heart disease, aortic aneurysms and stroke. It’s estimated that 75 percent of people with PAD are currently undiagnosed.

More information about services available at the St. Francis Heart Center is at

Information about Spectranetics is at

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A moveable feat: Surgeon explains orthopedic therapies, March 19

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Hip and knee pain shouldn’t keep people from leading active and rewarding lives – and St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers wants to show you how.

The St. Francis “Road Show” will be coming to town at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 19, at the Bloomington-Monroe County Convention Center. In the spotlight is a special seminar on hip and knee replacement.

John Meding, M.D., will explain the latest procedures in joint replacement and arthritis treatments. His specialty is adult reconstructive surgery with specialty interests in sports medicine, shoulder disorders and joint replacement.

Meding is a surgeon with Indiana Joint Replacement Surgeons, a practice group whose Center for Hip & Knee Surgery is affiliated with the St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville.

The Center has been ranked No. 1 in Indiana for joint surgery two years in a row by HealthGrades, one of the nation’s premier health-care rating companies.

To register for this seminar, call St. Francis toll-free at 1-877-888-1777.

More information about the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery is at

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cord blood donor program earns ‘hero’ status for health care achievement

INDIANAPOLIS – The cord blood donor program at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers was recognized as a finalist at the 2008 Indianapolis Business Journal Health Care Heroes Awards ceremony today (March 7).

The cord blood donor program was recognized in the Community Achievement in Health Care category. The annual Health Care Heroes Awards honor companies, individuals and organizations for their contributions to improving health care in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, including Marion and surrounding counties.

"This has been a very exciting program for our families and our nursing staff in the labor and delivery area," said Lori Warner, R.N., director of Women & Children’s Services. "We’re honored that the program was nominated and has been recognized for its contributions."

The program was nominated for the award by EndGenitor Technologies, Inc.

St. Francis and EndGenitor launched the donor program in early 2007, giving parents at St. Francis Hospital—Indianapolis the option of donating blood from the umbilical cord after the birth of their babies instead of discarding the cord.

More than 900 units of cord blood have been donated since the program began.

Cord blood is a rich and valuable source of adult stem cells and contains the building blocks for creating blood vessels, cells of the immune system, organs and tissues.

The cord blood donated to EndGenitor is used for the research and development of adult stems cells, which can be used to develop potential treatments for cancer, cardiovascular disease and other disorders.

"The impact of this research on the future treatment of disease is immense," said Program Coordinator Cheryl Boys-Fore, R.N., St. Francis nurse practitioner.

St. Francis’ Institutional Review Board – the internal group that reviews all of the hospital’s research projects – approved the collection protocols and EndGenitor’s adult cord blood stem cell research initiatives. That company’s methodologies for such research are within the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care.

Labor and delivery physicians and nurses at St. Francis obtain informed consents from patients who volunteer to be donors.

There’s no risk to mothers and children to donate cord blood after delivery, and the identities of donors in the EndGenitor-St. Francis program are kept confidential.

EndGenitor, the first adult endothelial stem cell company in Indiana, provides cord blood collection kits to St. Francis and also handles the transport of the material. The company also sponsors continuing education to the hospital’s nursing staff through the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Internist starts new practice with St. Francis Medical Group

INDIANAPOLIS – John W. Stuy, M.D., recently established a practice at St. Francis’ Heartland Internal Medicine office.

Stuy joins Eric Wymer, M.D, who also practices at Heartland Internal Medicine

Before his St. Francis appointment, Stuy was with the St. Vincent Hospital Primary Care Network. He was previously with the Indianapolis Medical Group in 1989-93.

Stuy, who is board-certified in internal medicine, is former director of the American Village Health Care and Robin Run Health Care facilities, and served on the St. Vincent Primary Care Network Management Council.

A native of the Netherlands, Stuy received his undergraduate degree at St. Bonaventure University, which he attended on a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship. He earned his medical degree from State University of New York-College of Medicine in 1982.

He completed an internship at Brooke Army Medical Center while on active duty with the U.S. Army. He attained the rank of major and served in the Internal Medicine Department of Ireland Army Hospital at Ft. Knox, Ky.

Stuy is accepting new patients over the age of 18.

Heartland Internal Medicine is at 10701 Alliance Dr., Suite A, Camby, IN. For information or to make an appointment, call 317-856-7083.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

And the beat goes on: Cardiologist explains irregular heart rhythms

INDIANAPOLIS – Ever wonder why some folks feel their heart racing and experience lightheadedness? It’s likely cause is irregular heart rhythms, and that’s the topic for the latest installment in the Ask-the-Doc series sponsored by the St. Francis Heart Center.

Electrophysiologist Robert Kinn, M.D., of Indiana Heart Physicians, will discuss atrial fibrillation and other heart arrhythmias and treatment choices 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 20.

The class, which is free to the public, will meet in the Heart Center’s community center near entrance No. 1, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.

To register or for more information, call 317-782-4422, or go on-line at and go to the “classes & events” link.

Hoop Dreams: Docs vs.Jocks vs.Drugs set to tip off

Former Pacers center Rik Smits is in the lineup for St. Francis' annual charity game.

INDIANAPOLIS – Physicians at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers are challenging the faculty of Whiteland High School to a game of hoops for a very good cause. The two teams, along with former Indiana Pacers star Rik Smits, will come together on Friday, March 21, for Docs vs. Jocks vs. Drugs, an annual charity basketball game to raise funds and educate youth about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco use.

Proceeds from the event will benefit drug awareness efforts at Whiteland High School.

The charity basketball game will take place at 7 p.m. in the gym at Whiteland High School, 300 Main St., in Whiteland. Tickets are $5 and are available at Whiteland High School and at the door the night of the event. Children ages 6 and younger may attend at no charge.

Those in attendance will have an opportunity to meet and take a photo with Smits, the 7-foot-4-inch former center who averaged 14.8 points and 6.1 rebounds a game during his NBA career. Half-time entertainment also includes a free-throw contest featuring Robert J. Brody, president and CEO of St. Francis Hospital.

A convocation/pep rally will be held at 2 p.m. on March 21 at Whiteland High School featuring nationally known motivational speaker Ken Johnson.

The Docs vs. Jocks vs. Drugs event is celebrating its 22nd year of raising funds for high school drug programs in central Indiana. The annual game has traveled all over south-central Indiana to raise awareness of the dangers that drugs hold for children and teens.

The participating high school keeps the proceeds raised from the game’s ticket sales to enhance its drug, alcohol and tobacco awareness programs. Over the years, the event has raised more than $100,000.

Former St. Francis patient, med staff featured on ‘Mystery Diagnosis’

INDIANAPOLIS – Sean Keefer’s star was on the rise as a tennis player at Hillsdale College in 1997 when a burning sensation in his eyes and headaches sent him to a physician. He was diagnosed with pink eye, but the medication he was given only made his eyes worse.

A variety of other maladies plagued Keefer after he completed his education and began his professional career. In April 2007, Keefer – now married, a father and working as deputy commissioner for the Indiana Department of Labor – underwent a series of tests that ruled out an earlier diagnosis.

Unsure of what to do, his family physician referred him to Michael Stack, M.D., a rheumatologist affiliated with St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. The physician asked Keefer a series of questions that accurately described the multitude of symptoms he had been suffering over the years.

A series of laboratory and imaging tests at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis finally pinpointed the source of Keefer’s illness, a rare arthritic condition, and successfully map out a therapy that ended his 10-year medical odyssey.

Keefer’s story is the subject of an upcoming segment of Mystery Diagnosis. It will air 10 p.m. (ET/PT) on Monday, March 10 on Discovery Health. Please check local listings.

Both Keefer and Stack are featured in interviews in the program. Also, several St. Francis emergency room nurses and technicians from Radiology and the St. Francis Heart Center are included in re-enactments.

Mystery Diagnosis, which debuted in 2005, features episodes detailing real-life health struggles of people and the physicians and other medical professionals who seek to diagnose and treat their illnesses. For more information about the show and episode guides, go to

St. Francis has hospitals on Indianapolis’ south side, Beech Grove and Mooresville. St. Francis is part of a network of 13 hospital campuses in Indiana and Illinois owned and operated by the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc., one of the largest health-care systems in Indiana.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

St. Francis is local host for national teleconference on kids’ grief

INDIANAPOLIS – The St. Francis Palliative Medicine program will be the local host of a national teleconference focused on ways to help youngsters cope with grief and loss.

The Hospice Foundation of America’s 15th annual Living With Grief® Children and Adolescents is a live satellite and Webcast sponsored by the Foundation for End-of-Life Care. The conference’s emphasis is on the experience of grieving children and adolescents and the ways parents, hospice and other medical professionals, social workers, counselors, clergy and funeral directors can support them.

The program will be moderated by Frank Sesno, professor of media and public affairs at the George Washington University and a special correspondent with CNN.

Locally, the conference will be from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 16. It will be broadcast at the St. Francis Hospital auditorium, 1600 Albany St., Beech Grove.

The program is free and the book, “Living With Grief: Children and Adolescents,” will be available for sale to conference participants.

To register or learn more about the conference, call 317-783-8930.

More information about the St. Francis Palliative Medicine program is at

St. Francis Hospice also will offer Spring Caterpillar Kids – a bereavement program for children ages 5-12 – beginning March 12. The workshops, which are free, are from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and run three consecutive Wednesdays with a one-week break, then resume for three additional sessions.

To register or for more information about Caterpillar Kids, call Roberta White at 317-865-2092 or toll-free at 800-390-9915.

Monday, March 3, 2008

St. Francis brings health care home to central Indiana patients

GREENWOOD, Ind. – Sometimes the best medicine for patients is being able to recover in the comfortable and familiar surroundings of their homes.

That is the thrust behind St. Francis Home Health Care Services, which serves Marion, Johnson, Morgan, Shelby, eastern Hendricks and western Hancock counties. The department has been steadily increasing it emphasis on efficiency and quality of care patients receive.

“Our service helps the patient transition from the hospital to home,” said Program Administrator Kelli Kappus. “Too many patients leave the hospital and are confused about their medications or discharge instructions. Our goal is to make every patient and caregiver as independent with their care as possible.”

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, only 20 percent of St. Francis Home Health patients are hospitalized, and 16 percent seek emergent care while receiving home health. Nationally, that compares 30 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

The St. Francis program offers nursing, aide and social work services, and physical, occupational and speech therapies.

Home Health Care liaisons are based at St. Francis Hospitals at Beech Grove and Indianapolis and they are available to coordinate services before patients are discharged.

Home services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurance agencies.

St. Francis Home Health Services is located at 438 S. Emerson Ave. in Greenwood. For more information, call toll-free at 800-390-1502, or 317-865-2080.