News Center

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

St. Francis director earns health-care management distinction

INDIANAPOLIS – Christopher A. DiGiusto, director of product and business development at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, has been named a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

DiGiusto received the credential after fulfilling several requirements, including passing a comprehensive examination, meeting academic and experiential criteria, earning continuing education credits and demonstrating community involvement.

“By becoming a Fellow and simultaneously earning board certification from the ACHE, health-care leaders show they are committed to providing high-quality service to their patients and communities,” said ACHE President Thomas C. Dolan.

The ACHE only has 7,500 fellows nationwide and they must re-certify every three years.

At St. Francis, DiGiusto is responsible for business implementation and development projects with physician practices. He has been associated with the hospital since 2003 and has held several management and consulting positions. He also has served in roles at Community Health Network and the Cincinnati Foundation for Biomedical Research and Education.

An Indianapolis resident, DiGiusto earned his undergraduate degree and master’s of health services administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati where he was an honors student. He’s also an alumnus of Roncalli High School.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Surgeon explains orthopedic, joint replacement therapies, June 4

COLUMBUS, 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, June 4, at the Comfort Inn & Suites, 2485 Jonathan Moore Pike. In the spotlight is a hip and knee replacement seminar.

Michael Berend, M.D., will explain the latest procedures in joint replacement and arthritis treatments. He is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in adult reconstructive surgery and joint replacement.

Berend 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

IOHC joins St. Francis Medical Group; expands cancer treatment options

INDIANAPOLIS – The addition of Indiana Oncology Hematology Consultants (IOHC) further expands the specialty offerings of St. Francis Medical Group.

“We are very pleased to welcome IOHC to the growing family of St. Francis Medical Group practices,” said Kent Brumbaugh, executive director of St. Francis Cancer Care Services. “The IOHC physicians have provided services at St. Francis for many years, but this adds a new dimension to our relationship.”

The merger pools the expertise of physicians and researchers within IOHC and St. Francis Cancer Care Services to form a network of professionals practicing at St. Francis hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and other locations throughout the state.

“We are indeed excited about the prospects that this merger affords us,” said IOHC President Randall Trowbridge, M.D. “The cancer services that we will be able to provide for our patients and the community has expanded, and we look forward to being an integral part of the cancer program within the St. Francis system.”

The merger brings to St. Francis the top-notch medical services of Laurence H. Bates, M.D.; Maureen Cooper, M.D..; Anita F. Conte, M.D.; Michael T. Slaughter, M.D., Ph.D.; Gregory W. Smith, M.D.; Randall Trowbridge, M.D.; and Johnnie Springman, R.N., family nurse practitioner. In July, Christopher Braden, D.O., will be joining the practice as well. The IOHC physicians treat a wide range of oncologic and hematologic disorders.

IOHC also brings a highly skilled nursing, clinical studies and administrative staff to join forces with St. Francis.

Organized in 1983, IOHC has provided quality health care services to patients throughout Indiana, including two Indianapolis locations: 8111 S. Emerson Ave., Suite A, (in the St. Francis Cancer Care Center) and 9002 N. Meridian St., Suite 214. IOHC physicians also see patients at outreach clinics in Franklin, Batesville, Madison, Elwood, Crawfordsville, Winamac, Frankfort, Kokomo, Rensselaer and Monticello.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling 317-859-5252.

More information about St. Francis Cancer Care Services is at

Monday, May 19, 2008

6 graduate from medical technology program at St. Francis Hospital

INDIANAPOLIS – Six students graduated from the St. Francis School of Medical Technology on May 16.

Upon completion of the St. Francis program, the students fulfilled undergraduate degree requirements and will receive bachelor degrees as well. Graduates and their schools:

· Marian College: Wendy Disbro, Aurora, Ind. (received BS in May 2007)
· Purdue University: Ashley Bencik, Greenwood; Scott Grimes, Greensburg; Sarah Homerding, New Lenox, Ill.; Erin McCoy, Elmwood ; and Melissa Stinebaugh, Greentown

The St. Francis School of Medical Technology is affiliated with several colleges and universities across the Midwest. The program, established in 1966, offers a year-long clinical study for participants, during which students attend rotations in various hospital departments.

Medical technology involves conducting a wide range of laboratory tests for the detection, diagnosis, treatment and study of diseases. Medical technologists work closely with pathologists and other specialists to ensure the accuracy of diagnoses.

St. Francis Hospital participates in unique heart recovery clinical trial

INDIANAPOLIS – Heart attack patients and others with coronary conditions may benefit from a catheter-based pump device being evaluated in a clinical trial now under way at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

The device is the Impella 2.5, developed by the Massachusetts-based Abiomed Inc. St. Francis is one of the few medical facilities to participate in the PROTECT II trial, the second Food and Drug Administration-approved trial for prophylactic preventive use of the device during non-emergent high-risk coronary intervention procedures.

“We are please to participate in the pivotal PROTECT II trial and we look forward to improving the treatment of high-risk patients,” said principal investigator William J. Berg, M.D., of the Indiana Heart Physicians and St. Francis Heart Center. “The Impella offers physicians a minimally invasive breakthrough technology in cardiac treatment and we’re excited to further demonstrate its effectiveness in this secondary trial.”

The current trial follows Abiomed’s previous PROTECT I trial, which yielded successful results for the ease-of-use and safety of the device, according to company officials.

The Impella 2.5, the world's smallest ventricular assist device (VAD), provides patients with up to 2.5 liters of blood flow per minute. It’s been used to treat more than 1,000 patients in Europe who have had heart attacks and cardiogenic shock, a condition in which a weakened heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

The trial was approved earlier this year by institutional review board, which oversees all clinical investigations conducted at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

To be eligible for the study, patients must have a left main lesion, only one remaining vessel open, or have triple vessel disease. They also must have a low ejection fraction (below 30 percent or 35 percent, depending on their other qualifying traits).

For more information about the trial, contact Kathy Lawson at 317-851-2582.

More details about the Abiomed’s Impella 2.5 device can be found at

The St. Francis Heart Center is a state-of-the-art facility and the only full-service cardiac and vascular care program on Indianapolis’ south side. For more information about its services go to

Editors/Reporters: Still images and DVD B-roll are available

Friday, May 16, 2008

St. Francis cardiologist explains heart valves, murmurs, May 27

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Have you or a family member been diagnosed with a heart murmur? Are you unsure about what that means?

At an upcoming “Ask the Doc” program sponsored by the St. Francis Heart Center on Tuesday, May 27, cardiothoracic surgeon Marc Gerdisch, M.D., will explain why it is important to understand how heart valves may cause murmurs and when it’s time to seek treatment.

Gerdisch is the medical director of
Cardiac Surgery Associates in Indianapolis.

Heart murmurs are caused by valves inside the heart that do not close properly. Sometimes, people can live with heart murmurs a long time without any symptoms. But if the problem becomes more serious, the blood flow to the heart may be affected.

Surgery, including heart valve repairs and valve replacement, can correct the condition and prevent heart failure.

The free, hour-long program starts at 6:30 p.m. at Swisher Center, St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, 1201 Hadley Rd. To register, call 317-782-4422.

Friday, May 9, 2008

St. Francis Hospital specialists assume national, state leadership roles

INDIANAPOLIS – Two St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers staff members have been elected to lead a national and state chapter of medical service professional organizations.

Janet O’Hair recently was elected president of National Association Medical Staff Services and Belinda Sherlock is the president of the Indiana Association of Medical Staff Services. Their elections mark the first time two professionals from the same health-care facility have simultaneously led the organizations.

O’Hair is manager of the Medical Staff Services Department at St. Francis’ Beech Grove campus; Sherlock is a credentialing specialist. Together, they have more than 35 years of experience in their field.

Medical staff service specialists are responsible for ensuring the process of credentialing physicians and licensed health-care practitioners is appropriately completed. These specialists conduct thorough searches of a practitioner’s education, training and experience, all of which affect the quality and safety of patient care.

NAMSS and IAMSS are the preeminent organizations for the professional development of those responsible for managing credentialing, physician privileging, practitioner/provider organizations and regulatory compliance in health care.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

St. Francis Hospital, CIGNA HealthCare contract negotiations at impasse

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers and insurance company CIGNA HealthCare, who owns both CIGNA and Sagamore Health Network employer health-benefit products, have reached an impasse in contract re-negotiations.

CIGNA has issued a termination notice to St. Francis and the other 12 hospitals owned and operated by the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc. (SSFHS) system for all CIGNA and Sagamore networks and products, effective June 15, 2008.

“The contracts between CIGNA/Sagamore and the Sisters of St. Francis have been in place for many years dating back as far as 1995,” said Greg Yust, vice president of managed care contracting for SSFHS. “The decision by CIGNA/Sagamore to terminate the agreement with St. Francis and the Sisters of St. Francis organization was entirely unexpected. This will cause significant disruption for employer groups and payers who anticipated having access to SSFHS facilities for their 2008 health plan benefit year.”

CIGNA notified SSFHS that all its medical facilities and affiliates in Indiana and Illinois would be terminated from participation in Sagamore Health Network and CIGNA networks and products effective June 15, 2008. The timing of the action could create significant disruption for employer groups because most group health benefit plans run on a calendar-year basis, according to Yust.

St. Francis and SSFHS are willing to honor the existing agreements with CIGNA/Sagamore through Dec. 31, 2008, or the employers’ next benefit renewal cycle. This would eliminate the significant disruption at June 15th termination will cause for employers and their employees.

“St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers will do everything possible to ensure that employers and patients who want continued access to the high-quality, cost-effective care provided can do so,” said Robert J. Brody, St. Francis’ president and chief executive officer.