News Center

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville opens Emergency Department Oct. 1

Hospital meets a critical need for residents in Mooresville and the surrounding areas

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Whether it’s a sick child in the middle of the night, a serious sports injury or a sudden severe health issue, it’s important that high-quality emergency care is available nearby.

For residents in Mooresville and the surrounding areas, that service is now offered at the St. Francis Hospital – Mooresville Emergency Department, open Wednesday, at 8 a.m. Oct. 1.

The new Emergency Department is located near the campus’ main entrance at 1201 Hadley Road, adjacent to the hospital’s PromptMed urgent care facility, which treats about 20,000 patients a year.

The Emergency Department is staffed by 22 board-certified emergency physicians from Emergency Physicians of Indianapolis, several specialty physicians, three in-house hospitalists who facilitate patient admissions, and nurses trained in acute care and trauma situations. The new department features state-of-the-art equipment and includes 14 treatment rooms, two acute care rooms and a community room for emergency medical services professionals.

Emergency Department physicians and medical staff have access to wireless communication technology and bedside charting for improved caregiver communication and efficiency. The department is conveniently located near Radiology Services and the Intensive Care Unit.

The new Emergency Department also is an access point for St. Francis’ renowned Emergency Heart Attack Response Team (EHART) approach to cardiac care. The more quickly a patient showing signs of a heart attack is admitted into the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab for treatment, the better the chances are for survival. EHART dramatically improves the hospital’s door-to- intervention time, which can mean a significant improvement in heart attack outcomes.

The opening of the Emergency Department is perhaps the community’s most highly anticipated element of the hospital’s recent $42 million expansion. In April of this year, the hospital opened:

  • A new 34-bed orthopaedic inpatient unit;
  • A 26-bed adult medical-surgical inpatient unit;
  • An eight-bed Intensive Care Unit;
  • Six new operating rooms with the latest in surgical technology, including a high-tech video and photography system in every operating room and laminar airflow and ultraviolet light technology for sterilization, which is critical in preventing infection;
  • A new laboratory;
  • An on-site office for Indiana Heart Physicians for expanded cardiac services; and
  • An expanded main lobby gallery, which offers a coffee bar and gift shop.

With the expansion, the hospital grew from 258,000 square feet to nearly 400,000 square feet.

“The opening of the Emergency Department, which completes our recent major expansion, is the continuation of an eight-year investment in this hospital to address the health care needs of the growing northern Morgan, Hendricks and southwestern Marion counties,” said Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. “It is our goal and mission to offer the best health care available right in this community, so the large number of area residents who have been leaving Morgan County to receive medical services get the care they need close to home.”

The Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. PromptMed hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Monday, September 29, 2008

St. Francis nurse appointed manager of adult intensive care unit

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Genelle Lucid, R.N., has been appointed manger of the Intensive Care Unit/Adult Critical Care at St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove.

She most recently served as clinical educator for St. Francis’ post-surgical unit. Lucid has held several nursing positions at St. Francis in areas such as critical, intensive and progressive care units and with the hospital’s Home Health Care program. She also has worked as a clinical instructor at IVY Tech Community College.

Lucid earned a bachelor’s of science in nursing at the University of Indianapolis, where she graduated with honors. She’s currently enrolled in a nursing master’s degree program at Indiana Wesleyan University.

She holds many memberships in professional organizations and is a member of Lambda Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Walk to Remember honors memories of little ones lost

Families remember children lost through miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death

What: St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers will host its 23rd Annual
Walk to Remember on Saturday, Oct. 4. Families from around
central Indiana who have lost children through miscarriage,
stillbirth or newborn death will attend the event to honor and
remember their children.

When: Beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4, families will walk from
St. Francis Hospital—Beech Grove to Sarah T. Bolton Park in
honor of their children.

Where: St. Francis Hospital—Beech Grove, 1600 Albany St.
Beech Grove and Sarah T. Bolton Park, 1300 Churchman Ave., Beech Grove

News Media:

A memorial service at the park will feature families reading poems written about their children. The service also will include a balloon release and the reading of babies' names. A small reception for the families at Bolton Park will follow the day's events. At the event, some families may be willing to be interviewed
and talk about their experiences.

St. Francis representatives will be available to discuss ways to
cope with losing a child and the hospital’s Memories to Hold program for grieving families.

For more information about Walk to Remember, call 317-865-5199.

Osteoporosis screenings offered at Rheumatology Center open house

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Rheumatololgist William Kcomt, M.D., will offer free osteoporosis screenings at the St. Francis Rheumatology Center, Wednesday, Oct. 1.

The blessing of the new office and open house will begin at 11:30 a.m. with office tours conducted by staff from noon until 1 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The screenings are from noon to 4 p.m., and following the blessing and open house at the center, which is part of the hospital campus’ new medical office building, 1199 Hadley Road.

Kcomt specializes in treating patients with arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, using the latest technologies to diagnose and treat the causes of diseases such as osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle because of low levels of calcium and other minerals. It more commonly affects women. People also might at risk if they are exceptionally underweight, have a small body frame or have a family history of the disease.

For more information about the St. Francis Rheumatololgy Center, go to Appointments can be made by calling 317-834-9051.

Monday, September 22, 2008

St. Francis pulmonary rehab program recertified nationally

INDIANAPOLIS – The Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has received recertification from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR)

The certification reflects the standards of care for programs throughout the nation. Applications can be made every three years and involve a review by the AACVPR of the program’s policies and practices. Participation is voluntary.

Program elements such as safety measures, emergency procedures, patient monitoring, care plans, education and physical assessment and exercise prescriptions are reviewed and evaluated.

St. Francis’ pulmonary rehabilitation program has passed every certification since 1998 when it established by the AACVPR.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a comprehensive, evidence based, multidisciplinary intervention for patients with chronic respiratory disease who are symptomatic and often have decreased daily life activities.

For more information about the Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at St. Francis, go to

Cardiac Screening Center lauded for public health service

INDIANAPOLIS – The Cardiac Screening Center at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has been selected to receive the Tony and Mary Hulman Health Achievement Award from the Indiana Public Health Foundation, Inc.

The award, presented annually, is for business and industry in the field of Preventive Medicine and Public Health. The center will be recognized along with other recipients of the Indiana’s Premier Health Awards at a ceremony Thursday, Oct. 2, at the downtown Westin Hotel.

“We are very proud and excited to be the recipient of the Tony and Mary Hulman Health Achievement Award in the field of Preventive Medicine and Public Health,” said screening coordinator Scott Roberts. “Our Cardiac Screening Center has motivated many individuals to make lifestyle modifications to reduce their chances of experiencing cardiac and vascular disease.”

The Cardiac Screening Center, a component of the St. Francis Heart Center, offers a variety of low-cost screening packages to the public, all of which are designed to assess a patient’s risk for heart and vascular disease.

The center’s selection for the award marks the second year in a row that a St. Francis entity has received the Preventive Medicine and Public Health Award. In 2007, the Heart Center’s Emergency Heart Attack Response Team (EHART) was recognized for implementing a protocol that more effectively treats heart attack patients.

Led by Umesh Khot, M.D., a cardiologist with the St. Francis Heart Center and Indiana Heart Physicians, EHART has reduced the time until patients receive lifesaving care after coming to the emergency department with chest pain. Compared to the traditional approaches patients arrive at the cardiac catheterization lab sooner, have less heart damage and shorter hospital stays. In addition, the EHART protocol also reduced the costs of care.

The American Heart Association and the federal government recommend a door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes or less. At St. Francis, EHART has reduced the average door-to-balloon time to just 58 minutes. EHART is so effective that more than 242 hospitals in the United States and around the world have asked St. Francis to share the protocol.
More information about services offered at the Cardiac Screening Center is at

Details about the Hulman Health Achievement Awards can be found at

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Support group assists patients with oral, head, neck cancers

INDIANAPOLIS – Support for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer will hold its south side care and share group meeting from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 4.

The meeting is at the St. Francis Education Center, 5935 S. Emerson Ave., Suite 100. Former and current patients with those types of cancer are encouraged to attend and share their experiences with others. Ample time will be provided for participants’ questions and discussion.

This monthly support group meets the first Thursday of each month and is for anyone with oral, head or neck cancer, regardless of type or stage of cancer. Caregivers are welcome.

For more information, call 317-782-4422.

St. Francis, Humana reach contract for in-network health benefits

INDIANAPOLIS – Humana and St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers have reached a new contract that will provide in-network health-care benefits for 164,000 Humana of Indiana members at Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. facilities beginning October 2008.

St Francis had been out of Humana’s network since June 2007. The new contract affects all Humana groups; individual and Medicare plan members.

“This agreement enables us to provide the same top-quality care to Humana members that we do to all those we currently serve at our hospitals and practice groups,” said Kevin Leahy, SSFHS president and chief executive officer.

“The addition of St. Francis to our hospital network brings to our members one of the country’s premier health systems,” said Humana of Indiana President Veronica Martin. “This agreement reinforces Humana’s commitment to health-care provider choice for our members and the collaborative approach both organizations embraced as we worked toward an agreement should be a model for provider/payer relationships.”

The following facilities will join the Humana network:

St. Francis Hospital & Health Center (Indianapolis)
St. Francis Hospital & Health Center (Beech Grove)
St. Francis Hospital & Health Center (Mooresville)
St. Elizabeth Regional Health (Lafayette)
Home Hospital (Lafayette)
St. Clare Medical Center (Crawfordsville)

Humana members with questions should contact Humana’s Customer Service Center at the toll free number on their member ID cards. A full listing of Humana network participating hospitals is also available at

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Actress and author Stacey Halprin shared life-changing weight loss story with Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly 300 people gathered on Sept. 11 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral to hear actress and author Stacey Halprin share her incredible weight loss story. This day had special significance for Halprin.

Seven years ago on Sept. 11, Halprin found herself trapped in her New York apartment just one mile from the World Trade Center. At 550 pounds, she was unable to escape on her own. Halprin was the keynote speaker at an event hosted by the St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers’ Spirit of Women program.

Halprin took the audience through her weight loss journey, and explained the physical and emotional impacts of losing nearly 400 pounds. Halprin explained that oftentimes the hardest part is keeping off the weight one has lost.

The St. Francis Spirit of Women program is part of Spirit of Women, an elite network of
hospitals nationwide committed to caring for women. As a Spirit of Women hospital,
St. Francis works to bring the very best in women’s programming from across the nation
to central Indiana.

Cutline for photo:
Stacey Halprin brought her weight loss story to Indianapolis on Sept. 11. She is shown holding the underwear she wore at 550 pounds. Stacey has lost close to 400 pounds. The event was sponsored by St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers and took place at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.

A high-res photo can be found by clicking on the image above, or contact Emily Koch.

Emily Koch, Borshoff (317) 631-6400 Emily(dot)koch(at)borshoff(dot)biz

Teresa Clark, St. Francis Community Relations (317) 782-7992 (office) (317) 906-1101 (pager) Teresa(dot)Clark(at)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Microsurgery offers incisionless treatment of colorectal cancers, polyps

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – A novel, less-risky procedure to surgically remove early cancers is now being used by surgeons at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville. The surgery removes low rectal to low sigmoid colon polyps and early cancers of the rectum and low sigmoid colon.
It’s called transanal endoscopic miscrosurgery (TEM), a technique developed in Germany two decades ago that recently was introduced in the United States. Colon and rectal surgeons undergo specialized training to perform the surgery, and hospitals must have advanced equipment to offer TEM.
St. Francis is one of only three hospitals in central Indiana to offer the procedure.
Because of their location, even some early cancers and polyps have required more extensive surgery and possibly a colostomy or temporary ileostomy. Both of those procedures often involve creating an opening whereby bodily wastes pass into an external pouch stuck to the skin.

With TEM, the polyps and cancers are removed with less-invasive laparoscopic procedures, avoiding longer and more risky surgery, as well as their accompanying pain and complications.
"TEM has proven to offer the same outcomes and survival benefit that major colon and rectal surgery does for select patients with rectal and low sigmoid tumors and polyps," said Bridget Sanders, M.D., a surgeon at Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville. "Most patients can go home the same day or early the next after TEM, where standard surgery usually requires up to a 10-day stay."
Dr. Sanders and Dipen Maun, M.D., also with the center, are two of only six surgeons in central Indiana performing this surgery.
While TEM today is intended for patients with early cancers, some patients with more advanced rectal cancer can be enrolled in national oncology trials that use the less-invasive TEM procedure, Dr. Sanders said.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Study probes lower dose drugs for artificial heart valve patients

INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Connelly was aware he would eventually need surgery to correct a calcified valve in his heart, but what he didn’t suspect was that he might be living on borrowed time.

While attending a recent heart health seminar at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, Connelly, a father of three, learned about a new Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial under way at the St. Francis Heart Center. He inquired and was accepted into the study.

The study tests the safety and effectiveness of using lower dosages of blood-thinning drugs in conjunction with the On-X heart valve, a device manufactured by On-X Life Technololgies of Austin, Texas.

The study is conducted by Cardiac Surgery Associates (CSA ) at St. Francis and other major heart centers nationally. The 33-year-old Connelly received an On-X valve and uses a home monitoring device to help control the anticoagulant therapy he is receiving.

“The On-X valve could become the first mechanical heart valve approved for use with lower doses of anticoagulants such as Coumadin (warfarin) or even antiplatelet therapy (aspirin and Plavix) alone,” said investigator Marc Gerdisch, M.D., CSA medical director and director of cardio-thoracic surgery at St. Francis Heart Center.

“Ultimately, this means a better quality of life for our patients,” Gerdisch added.

Anticoagulants are used to slow down or stop the formation of blood clots. When a prosthetic device replaces the native tissue cardiac valve, it introduces foreign material into the blood stream, which can stimulate clotting. Mechanical heart valves have been around for years but require lifetime coagulation therapy at high dosages.

Biologic tissue valves do not require anticoagulants, but typically require replacement after 8-15 years and therefore another operation.

What makes the On-X unique is its carbon-based material coating combined with superb blood flow performance and an innovative hinge design, allowing the device to perform more like a normal tissue valve.

Candidates seeking the requirements to participate in the study can call 317-851-2582.

To learn more about the services and programs at the St. Francis Heart Center, go to

St. Francis CEO lauded by groups for leadership, health care advocacy

INDIANAPOLIS – Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer of St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, today (Sept. 9) was awarded the Regents Award by the Indiana Chapter of American College of Healthcare Executives and the Indiana Hospital Association.

The St. Francis chief received the award at the IHA/ACHE breakfast meeting at the Hilton Indianapolis Downtown. Brody was recognized for his exemplary leadership during his tenure at St. Francis and spearheading health care reform locally and regionally.

Brody is active in legislative issues and involved at the national level with the Catholic Health Association. He frequently is invited by lawmakers and the health care industry to comment on public health issues.
A Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Brody assumed his current position at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers in November 1996, following four years as the hospital's executive vice president and chief operating officer.
He holds a bachelor's degree from Boston College and a master's degree in health administration from Duke University. He completed an administrative residency at Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans, La.
Prior to joining St. Francis, he held executive and leadership positions at CentraState Medical Center, (N.J.), Senior Care Centers of America Inc. (N.J.) Maxicare (N.C.), VHA Consulting Services (Texas) and Madison Health Associates (N.J.)

Brody is a member of Lay Board of Advisors of Sisters of St. Benedict-Beech Grove, Ind. He also holds board memberships with the te Archdiocese of Indianapolis – Catholic Community Foundation, Inc., Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation, Indiana Health Information Exchange,
St. Francis Healthcare Foundation, St. Francis Health Network and The Sycamore School of Indianapolis.

An Indianapolis resident, Brody is a former board member of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Indiana Inc., and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

More information about the ACHE Indiana chapter is at

Monday, September 8, 2008

The sound and potential fury: Heart murmurs explained at free seminar

INDIANAPOLIS – That low whispering inside some human hearts may speak volumes about a person’s health.

At an upcoming “Ask the Doc” program sponsored by the St. Francis Heart Center on Tuesday, Sept. 30, cardiothoracic surgeon Marc Gerdisch, M.D., will explain why it is important to understand how heart valves cause murmurs and when it’s time to seek treatment. Gerdisch is the Medical Director of Cardiac Surgery Associates in Indianapolis.

Valves inside the heart that do not open or close properly cause heart murmurs. People can live with heart murmurs a long time without any symptoms. In fact, the heart can suffer considerable damage from heart valve disease, before symptoms become noticeable. Heart failure may result from longstanding or sudden onset of valve disease.

“A heart murmur does not necessarily signal a problem. Many murmurs are harmless. However, their relationship to the heart valves needs to be understood and frequently, they require follow-up to ensure that heart continues to function normally,” says Gerdisch, director of Cardio-thoracic Surgery at St. Francis Heart Center.

“Imaging the heart with sound waves, allows us to monitor the impact of valve disease on the heart and therefore treat it at the right time,” Gerdisch said. “There has been considerable innovation in heart valve treatment, including our ability to repair valves instead of replace them.”

The free, hour-long program starts at 6:30 p.m. at Greenwood Public Library, 310 S. Meridian St. To register, call 317-782-4422.

To learn more about the services and programs at the St. Francis Heart Center, go to

Friday, September 5, 2008

Macy’s ‘Shop For a Cause’ benefits St. Francis Hospice House

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospice and Macy’s are offering a program that will expand hospice care services and benefit consumers.

Proceeds from local ticket sales for the Saturday, Sept. 20 “Shop For a Cause” program will go to the St. Francis Hospice House initiative, which seeks to construct a facility near St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis on the city’s south side.

The price is $5 for each shopping pass purchased and provides consumers with a wide range of discounts on regular, sale and clearance merchandise at any Macy’s department store in the United States. Ticket-holders also may eligible to win a $500 Macy’s shopping spree.

Macy’s “Shop for a Cause” is an annual one-day event and supports non-profit groups in communities throughout the United States. There are Macy’s stores in Indianapolis and Greenwood areas.

Tickets can be obtained by contacting Glenda Dennison, volunteer coordinator at St. Francis Hospice, at 317-859-2874, or Dawn Webb at 317-783-8930.

The St. Francis Healthcare Foundation is spearheading a campaign to build a free-standing 16-suite facility with room for expansion to 32 suites. It also would gathering and dining areas, landscaping and a chapel. It is estimated that Hospice House will serve more than 800 patients per year.

Since 1990, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers’
Hospice Services has provided compassionate care to individuals with limited life expectancies, emphasizing quality of life and dignity through the end-of-life experience.

To learn more about St. Francis Hospice, go to