News Center

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Taking it to the streets: Thousands poised to run in Nov. 1 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 3,100 runners will hit the city streets for the first-ever Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Saturday, Nov. 1.

Participants from 39 states and four countries are registered for the event, whose title sponsor is St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. The race features a full marathon (26.2 miles) and a half marathon (13.1 miles). Both courses will begin near Washington and West streets and will end their trek on Robert D. Orr Drive to the finish line, 200 yards east of West Street.

Opening ceremonies get under way 7:25 a.m., slightly west of the State Capitol Building on West Washington St. with remarks by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, St. Francis President and CEO Robert J. Brody, Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White, IMM President Carlton Ray, and Olympian runner and IMM Honorary Chair Bob Kennedy.

"The number of runners is over twice our 2008 goal and we're very excited to have so many wonderful athletes," said Ray. "ur organizing team is made up of local runners, community leaders and event planners who understand the thrill of participating in, as well as witnessing, an epic feat such as the completion of a marathon."

Proceeds from the marathon will benefit the Indianapolis Public Schools, the IPS Education Foundation and the Mind Trust and College Summit.

"We are honored to participate in this landmark and high-profile event," said Robert J. Brody, St. Francis president and CEO. "The marathon is an excellent way to promote health and wellness and is an outstanding opportunity to reach out to the Indianapolis community."

The urban courses are sanctioned and certified by the standards of USA Track and Field, the national body of road racing, with the marathon course serving as a qualifier for the 2009 Boston Marathon. Organization and administration is being conducted by Ken Long & Associates, a highly regarded training, road racing and consulting organization.

Long was formerly the race director for a nationally acclaimed running event, the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon.

To learn more about the event and its organization, go to

Weight Loss, Diabetes and Integrative Health Centers move to new location

INDIANAPOLIS – The St. Francis Weight Loss Center and the Franciscan Center for Integrative Health have moved to their new location at 5230A E. Stop 11 Road, Indianapolis, 46237.

The expanded offices are across Stop 11 Road from St. Francis Hospital – Indianapolis, west of the Indiana Heart Physicians building.

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 diabetes center can be reached at (317) 865-5904.

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 or visit

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, gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, group weight management programs and StomaphyX. Call (317) 782-7525 or visit

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stroke prevention workshop includes sign-up for free vascular screenings

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Strokes strike more than 780,000 Americans each year, claiming more than 150,000 lives – the third leading cause of death in the nation. But there are some protective measures that can taken to lower the risks.

That’s why cardiologist J. D. Graham III, M.D., is leading a free special seminar at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12 at Swisher Conference Center, St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville.

"Just as in heart disease where plaque build-up can cause a heart attack, dangerous plaque build-up in carotid arteries," said Graham, who is a member of St. Francis Heart Center and Indiana Heart Physicians.

Graham will explain how to keep the carotid arteries free of plaque and disease and the latest treatment options for patients at risk for stroke and related conditions.

Participants attending the program will also have the opportunity to ask questions and to sign up for a free peripheral vascular screening at a later date.

To register or for more information, call 317-782-4422.

More information about the St. Francis Heart Centers is at

Friday, October 24, 2008

St. Francis conference takes aim at respiratory ailments in children

INDIANAPOLIS – Medical staff at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers will lead presentations at an upcoming conference focused on respiratory care for newborns and youngsters.

The Pediatric and Neonatal Respiratory Conference gets under way Thursday, Oct. 30, in Classrooms I and II at St. Francis Hospital, 8111 S. Emerson Ave. The meeting brings together area physicians, respiratory therapists and nurses, who will discuss various topics such as pediatric airway emergencies, environmental contaminants affecting pregnancies and childhood development, and respiratory care trends in neonatal intensive care units.

Among the presenters is Paul Winchester, M.D., medical director of St. Francis’ NICU and professor of clinical pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Winchester is internationally recognized as an expert on the effects of environmental hazards on premature births and birth defects.

Experts from Cleveland Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Nationwide Children’s Hospital at The Ohio State University, IU School of Medicine and Emergency Physicians of Indianapolis also will participate.

The day-long conference, sponsored by St. Francis’ Respiratory Department, offers continuing education credits from the American Association for Respiratory Care, and the Indiana State Nursing Association.

For information or to register, call 317-851-1920 or 317-851-1911, or e-mail or

More information about the conference can be found at

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Toll-free number established for Anthem-insured patients

The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. recently announced a contract termination with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana effective Nov. 2. This is largely due to Anthem's lack of timely and accurate payment of claims reimbursement.

We know this causes concern and confusion to our patients, physicians and staff, and we are hoping to address these concerns with a toll-free telephone number, 1 (866) 576-3590.

Callers will be asked to provide their contact information, which will be forwarded to St. Francis insurance representatives who can answer their questions more directly and with more specific detail. As we are anticipating a high level of calls, our goal to respond to your questions within 24 to 48 hours.

You also can find answers to many common questions on our Q&A section at

[updated phone number Oct. 24, 2008]

Monday, October 20, 2008

St. Francis health system launches Web site to assist Anthem patients

INDIANAPOLIS – The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc. (SSFHS) has established an informational Web site – – to keep Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana patients informed of their health care options.

This new site provides updates and background information related to the recently announced contract termination with Anthem effective Nov. 2, 2008. A toll-free hotline also will be available on the site.

Patients are the paramount concern of the St. Francis health care system, which operates 13 hospitals in Indiana and Illinois.

SSFHS previously announced the contract termination in response to Anthem’s lack of timely claims reimbursement, a situation that has persisted since the fourth quarter of 2007.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Free back pain seminar offered by St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis

NDIANAPOLIS – Wondering about that aching back? The stiffness and soreness in the neck and back?

The causes of these and other ailments such as arthritis will be explained at a free back pain seminar 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 20, at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave. The event will be in Classrooms I and II, near the main entrance of the hospital.

St. Francis medical staff will be on hand to explain some of the last non-surgical treatments, medications and advances in physical therapy.

To register or for more information, call toll-free at 877-888-1777.

St. Francis, Kendrick, IU launch colon and rectal fellowship program

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Indiana’s first colon and rectal surgical training program is being launched through a partnership between Indiana University School of Medicine, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers and Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care.

The program has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and its marks the first educational joint venture between St. Francis and the medical school, the nation’s second-largest academic medical institution.

The teaching staff includes colon rectal surgeons of St. Francis Hospital and IU Department of Surgery.

“Upon completion of their training, residents will be eligible for the qualifying and certifying exams of the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery,” said program director Olaf Johansen, M.D.

The curriculum faculty: Johansen, Bridget Sanders, M.D. (associate director); Fred Lane, M.D.; R. Barry Melbert, M.D.; Dipen Maun, M.D.; Bruce Robb, M.D.; and Virgilio George, M.D.

Applications for the training program are now being accepted with training beginning in July 2009. More information about the fellowship is available by calling 317-834-9618.

More information about the Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care is or the Indiana University School of Medicine website

In 2007, St. Francis established the Colorectal Cancer Center center of excellence for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. It’s one of the largest programs of its kind in Indiana.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

National study ranks St. Francis among nation’s best in patient outcomes

Beech Grove ortho, gastrointestinal care rank high; Mooresville joint surgery 'best' in state again

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers today (Oct. 14) announced that its Beech Grove and Mooresville Hospitals have been ranked among the top 10 percent in the nation for joint replacement surgery.

That’s the assessment of an extensive study conducted by HealthGrades, one of the nation’s leading health care rating companies.

St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville again has been ranked best in Indiana for joint replacement surgery. This marks the third year in a row the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery has achieved this.

St. Francis-Beech Grove is the best rated hospital in the Indianapolis area for overall orthopedic care. Both hospitals achieved the 2009 HealthGrades Joint Replacement Surgery Excellence Award™.

Additionally, Beech Grove achieved a five-star for gastrointestinal (GI) surgery and procedures and the Indianapolis facility attained five-star ratings for care of GI bleeds and bowel obstructions.

“St. Francis physicians, nurses and support staff continually work to improve clinical processes while using their extensive knowledge, experience and skills to ensure better outcomes and superior care for our patients,” said Robert. J. Brody, president and chief executive officer of St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. “We’re pleased their efforts have been honored at this national level.”

“The HealthGrades recognition reflects the culture of care and the quality of service we provide to those we serve,” added Alan Gillespie, M.D., St. Francis’ chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs.

Mooresville joint surgery continues long record of success
Mooresville has been five-star rated for joint surgery nine years in a row by HealthGrades.

“Certainly it is a wonderful achievement and I believe it underscores our commitment to deliver premier orthopedic care at St. Francis and the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery,” said Jared Stark, executive director of St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville.

“Our team of surgeons, physicians, nurses, therapists and other staff continually seeks new ways to help people live more active lives – and with less pain,” added John B. Meding, M.D., president of St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville’s medical staff. “We offer the most state of the art surgery, less invasive techniques, the most modern implants such as proven total hip and knee devices, hip resurfacing, and partial knee replacements. For more than 20 years we have documented long term implant success in more than 20,000 patients. We are committed to compassionate and the highest quality of care available for all patients.”

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

HealthGrades 2009 National Study
As part of the nation’s most comprehensive, independent analysis of hospital quality, HealthGrades found that patients treated at five-star rated hospitals for nine common procedures are 47 percent less likely to experience a major complication, such as post-operative infections or heart conditions, which can lengthen their hospital stay and increase costs.

According to the study, if all Medicare patients had been treated at a top-performing hospital compared to the lowest-performing hospitals during 2005-07, more than 123,000 major complications potentially could have been avoided.

In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that funds medical and surgical care for the majority of hospital patients, announced that it would discontinue payments for many major inhospital complications, including surgery on the wrong body part and post-operative infection or disability due to a contaminated implantation device. This further demonstrates the importance of researching for and utilizing the best care available.

In developing its 2009 healthcare quality ratings, released today, HealthGrades analyzed more than 41 million Medicare hospitalization records from 2005 to 2007 at the nation’s approximately 5,000 non-federal hospitals.

On its Web site,, HealthGrades offers consumers free quality ratings of 27 procedures and treatments. The Web site is designed so that consumers can easily compare patient outcomes at their local hospitals for procedures ranging from total knee surgery to cardiac bypass surgery. Each hospital receives a star rating based on its patient outcomes in terms of mortality or complication rates for each procedure or treatment.

Monday, October 13, 2008

St. Francis health system opts out of Anthem network Nov. 2

INDIANAPOLIS – The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc. (SSFHS) announced today (Oct. 13) that its contract with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana is set to end Nov. 2, 2008.

Reasons for the termination include Anthem’s lack of accurate and timely claims payment and the inability to secure contract terms comparable to other hospitals in the area, SSFHS officials said.

The termination will cover the following SSFHS hospitals 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

“SSFHS is a good partner that works closely with payers to resolve claims problems when they occur,” said Greg Yust, SSFHS vice president of managed care contracting. “We recently forged successful long-term agreements with Aetna, Humana, Saga more and CIGNA. The Anthem claims issues have been ongoing for more than a year with no progress whatsoever.”

St. Francis hopes to work out a new agreement with Anthem. In the event SSFHS is unable to reach an agreement, it will work continue to work with Anthem, patients and employers to limit the impact the contract dispute might cause.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blessings, open houses planned for St. Francis medical offices

INDIANAPOLIS – The public is invited to progressive blessings and open houses which are on tap for three St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers medical facilities, Wednesday, Oct. 15.

The blessings begin at 2 p.m. at the Orthopedic Restoration office of Charles Bartley, M.D., 701 E. County Line Road, Suite 201 in Greenwood. After the blessing and tour of the office, the celebration will continue to the Franciscan Spine Center and St. Francis Pain Clinic, 8051 S. Emerson Ave., Suite 360.

After a 3 p.m. blessing ceremony there, visitors will be treated to refreshments and will have the opportunity to meet with physicians and staffs during tours of the facilities.

For more information on the services offered at Orthopedic Restoration, visit the Web site at, or call 317-887-2034.

The Franciscan Spine Center, directed by Daniel Nordmann, M.D., offers patients a complete range of surgical and non-surgical care. For more information call 317-783-8494, or visit its Web site at

For more information about services offered at the St. Francis Pain Clinic, go to

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And the beat goes on: St. Francis doc explains abnormal 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 explain atrial fibrillation and other irregular heart rhythms and treatment choices 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 16. He also will discuss the latest minimally invasive options for patients.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disturbance, affecting more than 2.3 million Americans.

The class, which is free to the public, will meet in the St. Francis 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.