News Center

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

3-D Lab gives realistic outside-looking-in view of human health

INDIANAPOLIS – Imagine a virtual journey into the depths of the human body and capturing images that can be used to help clinicians identify and treat hard-to-identify illnesses and conditions.

That’s a journey many physicians are taking to help their patients, navigating their way by the sophisticated technology found in the 3-D Lab at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. The lab – one of the few in Indiana – was created to harness the surge in technology-related computed axial tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Administered by St. Francis’ Radiology Department at its south side Indianapolis campus, the 3-D Lab is being used in a variety of ways to diagnose conditions such as blood clots, aneurysms and to assist vascular surgeons to place devices such as stents.

The technology also helps physicians probe skeletal and musculoskeletal trauma and anomalies, and helps them plan surgeries.

Through the St. Francis network, the 3-D Lab receives data from cross-sectional CT and MRI studies. Computers in the lab then produce realistic views of body systems physicians use to visualize their patients’ anatomies more comprehensively and accurately. These images can be viewed at St. Francis campuses at Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville.

“Often hundreds or even thousands of CT scan images can be summarized into a smaller number of three-dimensional images with the aide of specialized workstations.” said interventional radiologist Raj Gupta, M.D. Gupta works frequently with 3-D images to help specialists, such as vascular surgeons, with planning their procedures.

But it’s not only specialists who are taking advantage of the 3-D Lab. Primary care physicians at St. Francis are increasingly using the technology to view arteries and possible pulmonary embolisms in their patients.

“Optimal 3D post processing is very reliant on the quality of CT and MRI images produced at the scanner,” said 3-D Lab Technical Coordinator Louis Rankin. “The 3D Lab has nearly developed into a separate department here in Radiology, but we still focus on putting through quality CT and MRI imaging”.

Currently, the 3-D Lab is operational around-the-clock and on-call staff members maintain virtual work stations at home.

St. Francis MDs, pharmacist honored for patient safety leadership

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Patient Safety Coalition today (Nov. 25) recognized St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers medical leaders as recipients of the coalition’s 2008 Patient Safety Hero Awards.

Awards were presented to the coalition’s co-founders, Dr. Donald J. Kerner, associate chief medical officer at St. Francis, and Dr. Glenn Bingle, vice president for medical and academic affairs at Community Health Network. Kerner serves as the coalition’s vice chair and Bingle serves as chair.

Both were specifically cited for their visionary leadership to improve patient safety to medical facilities in the Indianapolis area.

Two others from St. Francis also were among others recognized for their efforts to promote medical safety. Pulmonologist Charles E. Kinsella, M.D., and pharmacist Therese Staublin have lead a team to establish a standardized process for systematic reporting, tracking, documentation and analysis of medication errors to adopt a system-wide approach to analyze adverse events and trends across incidents.

The Patient Safety Hero awards are given to individuals or groups at each member hospital that have championed a specific patient safety project.

Established in 2003, the coalition is comprised of chief executive, medical, nursing and pharmacy officers from Indianapolis and surrounding county hospitals. In addition, there is participation by entities such as Eli Lilly and Company, WellPoint, Inc., Indiana University, Purdue University and the Regenstrief Institute, Inc. #

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Operation Bright Christmas shines light on needy youngsters

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – The effects of the reeling economy are never more glaring than during the holidays – and that’s why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is partnering with LifeBridge Community to help needy families.

Operation Bright Christmas serves families during the holidays, benefiting an estimated 200 children living in poverty in Beech Grove and Indianapolis’ south side. St. Francis has joined with LifeBridge and is now accepting donations until Dec. 18 to help these families.

Donations being accepted: new toys, new or gently used infant clothing and items, wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, ribbon, batteries, DVDs or CDs (“G” or “PG” rating only), video and board games (“G” rating only), twin size bedding, gift cards in small denominations, faith-based items, and sports toys (balls, bats, gloves, etc.).

Donors are asked not to provide clothing, or toys that are of violent and occult nature. Toys that are broken or missing pieces also will not be accepted.
Donations are being accepted 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Spiritual Care offices at St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove, 1600 Albany St.; St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.; and St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, 1201 Hadley Road.

“We’re encouraging the public to join with the St. Francis family to make this holiday a little brighter for the less fortunate,” said Julia Dearing, who is helping coordinate the program at St. Francis. “Registered parents will have the opportunity to shop for the donated items and wrap them at home.”

LifeBridge Community is a faith-based ministry that seeks to instill hope in the lives of children, young adults and families through nurturing relationships and supportive services. More information about the organization is at www.lifebridge-communit

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Trial seeks to decrease post-operative complication rates following rectal surgery

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Surgeons with the Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers are testing the effectiveness of a mesh reinforcement device for patients undergoing surgery for rectal cancer.

It’s part of a study being conducted at 12 sites around the country, including the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland and the Cleveland Clinic in Florida, and the Mayo Clinic. The research is sponsored by W.L. Gore and Associates, a Delaware-based medical products company.

“The aim of this study is to determine if the mesh material will lead to a lower rate of permanent colostomy as well as decreasing the complication rate for this difficult procedure,” said Frederick Lane, M.D., principal investigator for the St. Francis study.

Joining Lane in the study are Olaf B. Johansen, M.D.; R. Barry Melbert, M.D.; Bridget M. Sanders, M.D.; and Dipen C. Maun, M.D. These surgeons, all of whom are members of the Colorectal Cancer Center of Excellence at St. Francis, are certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.

The findings of the study are expected to be presented nationally and published in a major medical journal.

Patients currently are being enrolled. For more information, call 317-889-7906.

The Kendrick Regional Center also was recently approved to lead the Indiana University Colon and Rectal Training Program, which will train colon and rectal surgeons of the future. The training program is supported by IU as well as grants from St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers and the Kendrick Foundation.

More information about the Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care is

St. Francis invites families to breakfast, spend time with St. Nick

INDIANAPOLIS – The St. Francis Memories to Hold program will host Breakfast with Santa 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 6 in the cafeteria at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave. (Entrance 6).

In addition to the breakfast, children can make holiday crafts and receive giveaways before meeting Santa and sharing their Christmas wish lists with him.

Parents are invited to bring their own cameras to take photographs of their children with Santa. Photographs also will be available to purchase for $1 each.

The costs to attend are $7 for adults and $3 for children 2 and older.

Those unable to attend the breakfast still can come to Storytime with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6, in the cafeteria at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis.

Children will enjoy cookies and punch while talking to Santa, who will host a special story time at 3 p.m. The cost is $3 for children, which includes a photograph with Santa.

Seating at both events is limited. For reservations, call 317-782-4422.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blessings, screenings on tap for St. Francis clinics’ open houses, Nov. 19

INDIANAPOLIS – The public is invited to a blessing, open house and screenings for three St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers medical offices, Wednesday, Nov. 19.

The events will mark the grand opening of the new location for the Franciscan Center for Integrative Health, the St. Francis Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, and the St. Francis Weight Loss Center. All three have moved to 5230A E. Stop 11 Road, Indianapolis.

The blessing begins at 4 p.m., with tours, refreshments, body-mass index screenings and diabetes risk assessments until 6 p.m.The Franciscan Center for Integrative Health uses both conventional treatments, as well as “complementary” or “alternative” therapies to provide care for patients. Health and healing are based upon addressing patients’ physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, as well as examining the impact of their connections within the community. The Franciscan Center can be reached at 317-788-0907.

The St. Francis Diabetes & Endocrinology Center treats adult patients with diabetes or endocrine disorders. The center offers an extensive list of diabetes education programs, recognized by the American Diabetes Association. The center can be reached at 317-865-5904.

The St. Francis Weight Loss Center is an American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. The center offers medical and surgical treatments for obesity, including physician-supervised weight loss, LAP-BAND and Realize adjustable gastric bands, gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve surgery, group weight management programs and StomaphyX procedures for previous gastric bypass patients. More information is at 317-782-7525.

For more information on all St. Francis services, visit the Web site at

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Family medicine physician selected to lead St. Francis Medical Group

INDIANAPOLIS – Glenn A. Loomis, M.D., has been appointed president of the St. Francis Medical Group, LLC.

In that role, he will lead 71 physicians who are members of the Indianapolis-area physician group. It marks the second time Dr. Loomis has been associated with St. Francis; he served as associate director of the hospital’s Family Practice Residency Program from 1999 to 2002.

Dr. Loomis, who is board-certified in family medicine, returns to St. Francis after serving as president of Sparrow Medical Group in Lansing, Mich. Prior to that position, he served as associate medical director for Mercy Health System in Janesville, Wisc. and director of Mercy’s Family Medicine Residency. From 1995 to 1999, he served as a family medicine physician and flight surgeon with the U.S. Air Force.

A graduate of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, he completed his family medicine residency at Community Health Network in Indianapolis and also earned a master’s degree in healthcare management at the University of Texas.

Dr. Loomis, a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, has earned several academic and professional honors during his career. He has also been published in professional journals.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Anthem contract termination rescinded; patients will continue to receive in-network care

INDIANAPOLIS – The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. today (Nov. 7) announced it would rescind plans to terminate its contract with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana, thereby ensuring patients will continue to receive in-network benefits.

St. Francis and Anthem officials say they have made progress in negotiating a new multi-year contract and will continue their discussions until an agreement is reached.

An agreement would cover the following SSFHS medical facilities and physicians:
  • 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. Anthony Medical Center (Crown Point)
  • St. Anthony Memorial Health Center (Michigan City)
  • St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Center (Hammond)
  • St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Center (Dyer)
  • St. Clare Medical Center (Crawfordsville)
  • Franciscan Physicians Hospital (Munster)
  • More than 300 physicians in the different SSFHS service areas

The affected plans are Anthem Blue Access PPO, Anthem Blue Preferred HMO, Anthem Traditional, Anthem Medicare Advantage PPO, and Anthem Healthy Indiana Plan.


About Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc.
Headquartered in Mishawaka, Ind., the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services is a network of 13 growing hospital campuses in Indiana and Illinois is one of the largest health-care systems in the state. The system’s health-care ministry in Indiana was established in 1875. More information about SSFHS is at

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana is available at

Media Contacts:
Joe Stuteville-St. Francis
317-782-7986 (office)

Tony Felts-Anthem
317-287-6036 (office)

Purchase ageement for Beech Grove under review

For the past two years, a committee of St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers leadership and Beech Grove officials, led by Beech Grove Mayor Joe Wright, have met to discuss new uses for the Beech Grove campus once inpatient care and other hospital services move to the Indianapolis campus.

Two of the main goals of this committee were to blend the community’s needs with the best future use of the Beech Grove campus, and that future re-use of the Beech Grove campus would conform to the values of Catholic principles and Franciscan values.

Recently, the hospital was approached by The Delamore Companies, a company with solid experience in redeveloping health-care facilities. We have executed a purchase agreement with Delamore and are now going through a required process of due diligence. This will be followed by an approval process through the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc. Last week, the City of Beech Grove held a meeting to present a timeline for a proposed bond sale for the St. Francis redevelopment project.

St. Francis and the City of Beech Grove are optimistic that the sale of the hospital could be final as soon as the end of the year. Once the sale is finalized, the hospital will lease the facilities from Delamore while the Indianapolis construction continues.

New pantry program will aid struggling families with newborns

INDIANAPOLIS – Many central Indiana families are struggling to weather today’s tough economic climate and find it increasingly difficult when a new baby arrives in the household.

That’s why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has established the Newborn Pantry, a program designed to ensure that families have some of the necessities for their newborn infants.

The program is accepting donations – new and gently used – such as baby blankets, diapers, wipes, bibs, crib sheets and one-piece body suits. The donations will be collected from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at kickoff "baby showers" at the following facilities:

Nov. 17: St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville (Swisher Conference Center), 1201 Hadley Road
Nov. 18: St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis (Classroom II), 8111 S. Emerson Ave.
Nov. 19: St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove (basemen auditorium), 1600 Albany St.

It’s estimated that 40 percent of babies born at St. Francis hospitals are in families who are struggling financially, have limited resources or receiving charity care.

"St. Francis has always looked for ways to meet the needs of the community," said Sister Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission services. "The Newborn Pantry is a way our staff is reaching out to meet the needs of our newest members."

For more information about donations, contact Mischelle Frank at 317-782-6517.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Local luminaries shine bright in style show benefiting hospice project

INDIANAPOLIS – Several locally known leaders in media, medicine and business will taxi down the fashion runway for an event benefiting end- of-life patients and their families served by St. Francis Hospice.

The 5th annual St. Francis Hospice Style Show – "Caring Beyond Curing" – is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 15 at Primo Banquet and Conference Center, 2615 E. National Ave., Indianapolis. Proceeds go to the Bridge Campaign initiative, which seeks to construct an inpatient Hospice House facility near St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis on the city’s south side.

Among the guest models: Stacia Matthews, health and fitness reporter at WRTV-6; Winnie Ballard, wife of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard; Rowana Umbarger, wife of Major General R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General for the State of Indiana; Karle Schaefer, 2008 500 Festival Queen; Susan McRoberts, vice president and chief nursing officer at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers; Vicki Perry, chief executive office of Advantage Health Solutions; Pam Hickman, owner of Patora Jewelers; and several St. Francis hospice and palliative caregivers.

Rafael Sanchez, WRTV’s "Call 6 for Help" will serve as master of ceremonies.
The event kicks off at 11:00 a.m. with a silent auction, followed by the luncheon & style show presented by Coldwater Creek.

The St. Francis Healthcare Foundation is spearheading the Bridge Campaign to build a free-standing 16-suite facility with room for expansion to 32 suites. It also will include gathering and dining areas, landscaping and a chapel.

It is estimated that Hospice House will serve more than 800 patients per year. St. Francis medical professionals will provide 24 hours a day, seven days a week state-of-the-art pain and symptom management including emotional and spiritual support.

For more information about St. Francis Hospice Style Show sponsorships, registration and auction packages, contact Glenda Dennison at 317-859-2874.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

St. Francis, Anthem agree to extension; long-term contract possible

INDIANAPOLIS – The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc. (SSFHS) has agreed to postpone its contract termination with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana until Friday, Nov. 7.

After a weekend of intense discussions, both organizations reported that “significant progress in negotiations had been made and both SSFHS and Anthem are confident that a long-term contract extension will be completed in the next few days.”

The contract was scheduled to terminate midnight, Sunday, Nov. 2.

Both parties indicated optimism that final details of a long-term contract extension would be finalized by Nov. 7.