News Center

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rheumatologist offers services at 3 St. Francis locations

PLAINFIELD, Ind. – Rheumatologist William Kcomt, M.D., a member of St. Francis Medical Group, will begin seeing patients at Plainfield Health Center on Fridays, effective June 5.

His office hours will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the center, located at 315 Dan Jones Road. Kcomt, who is affiliated with the Rheumatology Center at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville (1201 Hadley Road), focuses his practice on the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory muscle and joint conditions and arthritis.

He also works with patients for the management of knee, neck and low back pain; diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia; comprehensive management of shoulder pain; diagnosis and management of osteoporosis and prevention of fractures.

Kcomt also sees patients 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Beech Grove Internal Medicine on Wednesdays. The office is located at 2030 Churchman Ave.

To schedule appointments, call 317-834-9051.

Walkway bricks at St. Francis-Mooresville cement memories of loved ones

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – The landscaped walkway lining the banks of the lake at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville offers more than just a scenic stroll.

For a donation of $125 to the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation, people can own a piece of the pathway lining both side of the Memory Walk, as part of the hospital campus’ Lake and Gardens project. Bricks can include personal messages honoring their loved ones.

“This will be an ongoing labor of love, providing a way you can pay tribute to a close friend or relative,” said Jeanne Aydt of the foundation.

The Lake and Gardens project began with a vision to expand the natural environment on the hospital campus to promote a healing atmosphere.

“Visitors can stroll along the new walkway, rest on one of the teak benches, stroll across the footbridge spanning the lake, and enjoy the play of light on the water,” Aydt said. “This is an area coming to life – and the memorial bricks honor the lives and memories of others.”

For more information or to receive an order form call Aydt at 317-782-6851. Order forms also are available at the St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville campus, 1201 Hadley Road.

To learn more about the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation, visit

Thursday, May 28, 2009

St. Francis hosts support group for oral, head, neck cancer patients

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, June 4.

The next class meets Thursday, Aug. 6.

The meeting is at the St. Francis Education Center, 5935 S. Emerson Ave., Suite 100. Come share your experiences and learn from other oral, head and neck cancer patients. 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 stage or type of cancer. Caregivers are welcome.

For more information, call 317-782-4422.

St. Francis Hospital earns national recognition for heart failure treatment

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers was recognized for its achievement in implementing the American Heart Association’s/American Stroke Association’s programs to treat coronary artery disease, stroke and heart failure.

St. Francis received the Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure Bronze Performance Achievement. The recognition also means that St. Francis attained an aggressive goal of treating patients for at least 90 days with 85 percent compliance to the core standard levels outlined by the AHA and American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for heart failure patients.

“The Get With The Guidelines is a quality improvement initiative that provides hospital staff with tools that follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures in caring for heart failure patients and to prevent future hospitalizations,” said Michael Hertel, executive director of the St. Francis Heart Center. “We are honored that our staff has been recognized for this achievement.”

Previously St. Francis received both the bronze and silver awards for its achievements in the area of coronary artery disease (acute myocardial infarction) from the AHA.

According to the GWTG-Heart Failure treatment guidelines, patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants upon their arrival at the hospital. They also receive tobacco cessation and thyroid management counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before their discharge.

“Full implementation of national heart failure guideline-recommended care is a critical step in preventing recurrent hospitalizations and prolonging the lives of patients,” said Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., national chairman of the GWTG Steering Committee and director of Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center. “The goal of our program is to help hospitals like St. Francis implement appropriate evidence-based care and protocols to reduce disability and the number of deaths in these patients.”

According to the AHA, about 300,000 people annually suffer a recurrent heart attack, 5.2 million experience heart failure and 700,000 are stricken by stroke.

To learn more about the services provided at the St. Francis Heart Center, go to, or

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer camp offers grieving kids ways to share feelings, cope with loss

INDIANAPOLIS – The loss of a loved one brings a mixed bag of emotions to anyone, but it can be a particular burden for youngsters who are trying to sort out their feelings.

Yet there’s a place in central Indiana that helps young people deal with their grief and share their feelings with others in similar situations. That’s why St. Francis Hospice is an supporter and active participant at Camp Healing Tree, which offers a special weekend opportunity for children and teens.

The camp is accepting applicants for its Aug. 21-23 session. Trained and screened volunteers from St. Francis and other area hospices are on hand to work with participants on an individual or group basis.

"The camp is designed as a support environment in which to gently teach coping skills and build self-esteem and support," said Roberta White, St. Francis Hospice coordinator. "Although the camp focuses on grief support, there also are many social and fun activities for the campers, such as swimming, arts, crafts, games, to name but a few."

Located on Indianapolis’ west side at Jameson Camp, Camp Healing Tree begins at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21, and concludes with a memorial services for participants and their families at 11 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 23.

Because of limited availability, only first-time campers are being accepted for this year’s session.

For more information, contact Roberta White at 317-865-2092. Direct registration for Camp Healing Tree can be made by calling 317-388-2267, or visiting

Group offers support, shared experiences for blood cancer patients

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – A diagnosis of leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin disease or myeloma can leave a person feeling isolated with unanswered questions.

The Indiana Blood and Marrow Transplantation unit at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is co-sponsoring a support group. Support for persons with a blood cancer will hold an informational meeting from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 16, at Beech Grove Meadows, 13, at 130 Albany Way.

Participants can share their experience with former and current transplant patients. This group is open to all people touched by a blood cancer seeking support from others. Ample time is set aside for participants’ questions and discussion.

This monthly support group meets the third Tuesday of each month and encourages participation of patients, families, caregivers and friends to attend. Meetings are co-sponsored by Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

To learn more, call 317-726-2275, extension 200.

More information about the Indiana Blood and Marrow Transplantation unit at St. Francis can be found at

St. Francis-sponsored group offers support to breast cancer patients

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – There’s more to fighting cancer than good medicine and technology. That’s why St. Francis Cancer Center offers a well-designed support program to help breast cancer patients.

Designed for those with breast cancer, this group provides a safe place to share thoughts, feelings and gain practical information from others in similar situations at any treatment stage.

The group meets the first Monday of each month from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, OB Classroom, 1201 Hadley Road. Their next meeting occurs Monday, July 6.

The sessions are offered free, however, registration is recommended. Caregivers are welcome.
To register, call 317-782-4422 or visit for more information.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Volunteer honored for her ‘compassionate’ care for grieving families

INDIANAPOLIS – After experiencing the loss of her baby during pregnancy, Teresa Kirkhoff later discovered a way to deal with her grief and help mothers and their families experiencing that similar nightmare.

She became a volunteer with the Caring Companions program at St. Francis Hospital’s Women and Children’s Services (WCS). The program is made up of volunteers – trained and certified as Resolve Through Sharing caregivers – who have lost children to miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.

"I wanted to help other families who should celebrate the precious babies they will never bring home," said Kirkhoff, who is employed at Eli Lilly and Company as a Six Sigma "Black Belt" for global patient safety. "Volunteering enables me and other caregivers to provide support to parents during very painful, vulnerable times."

And her efforts to bring comfort to those folks will be recognized June 16 at the 2009 Jefferson Awards for Public Service in Washington, D.C. Established in 1972, the awards are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in the United States.

Kirkhoff was similarly honored by the Lilly Foundation in March, presenting her with Jefferson Awards Medallion grants for her work with Caring Companions. Lilly is among several major corporations and institutions throughout the nation with established Jefferson Awards recognition.

"Teresa brings a tremendous depth of compassion and understanding to those she works with," said WCS Director Lori Warner. "Like our other volunteers, she feels she has been called to share her experience and bring comfort to other mothers."

Kirkhoff also volunteers for St. Francis’ Memories to Hold, a support group for parents with a safe to share the stories and preserve the memories of their lost infants.

More information about Caring Companions is at Background about Memories to Hold can be found at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Publications, promotions strike gold, silver in national marketing competition

INDIANAPOLIS – Five community-focused publications and projects of St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers have earned top marks for their marketing and advertising capabilities from Healthcare Marketing Report (HMR).

The publications were judged on their overall creativity, marketing execution and impact of messaging.

The quarterly publication Good Health Today received a Gold Award (Group 2: Hospital 300-599 Beds) in HMR’s 26th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards. The publication, which is edited by Community Relations Coordinator Teresa Clark, serves 171,000 household in south-central Indiana. The coordinating agency for the publication is StayWell Custom Communications.

But it wasn’t the only St. Francis publication to reap recognition.

Two projects earned a Bronze Award: The St. Francis 2007 Community Benefit Report (Group 6: Under $500 million revenue). This annual report details the many ways St. Francis serves the public through public health education, charity care and events such as health screenings. The St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville Dedication also garnered attention with its promotion of the completion of the hospital’s expansion project in April 2008.

Both reports were produced by St. Francis in coordination with Indianapolis public relations agency Borshoff.

Two other St. Francis projects received a Merit Award: The Doctor Day Card and Spirit of Women-Tracey Halprin Event. The projects were developed and coordinated by St. Francis’ Marketing and Community Relations Department staff and Borshoff.

More than 3,600 entries were received in this year’s contest, making it the largest health-care advertising awards competition. Healthcare Marketing Report is one of the nation’s leading publications, covering all aspects of health-care marketing, advertising and strategic business development.

Open house heralds easier access to services at new Southport location

INDIANAPOLIS –.Four clinical departments are relocating to the new St. Francis Medical Office Building at 610 E. Southport Road at U.S. 31.

That’s why St. Francis is inviting the public to a Wednesday, May 27, open house that day to meet physicians and staff who will occupy the facility. The event gets under way at 4 p.m. with a blessing and dedication of the building, followed by an open house through 6 p.m.

The new tenants include St. Francis Behavioral Health, St. Francis Physical Therapy, St. Francis Psychiatric Associates and St. Francis Sports Medicine.

The open house will offer tours of the facility, free flexibility screenings and 10-minute relaxation sessions and refreshments

Friday, May 15, 2009

St. Francis surgeon explains orthopedic, joint replacement therapies, June 10

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., this Wednesday, June 10, at the Comfort Inn and Suites, 2485 Jonathan Moore Pike. In the spotlight is a hip and knee replacement seminar.

Robert Malinzak, 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.

Malinzak is a surgeon with Joint Replacement Surgeons of Indiana, 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 three 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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

St. Francis-Mooresville opens wound care treatment center

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – The St. Francis Wound Care Institute has opened in Mooresville and is now serving patients on Indianapolis’ south side and the surrounding area. The Institute, the first of its kind on the south side, specializes in diabetic foot and ankle care and limb preservation.

An estimated 5 million Americans live with non-healing wounds. Specialized care of chronic wounds is an essential part of the overall care pathway for many patients. At the St. Francis Wound Care Institute, patients with non-healing wounds can get customized care and innovative treatments.

The Mooresville center offers a multidisciplinary team dedicated to individualized treatment and total patient care. Institute nurses and staff have 65 years of combined experience in wound care treatment. Adults who suffer from non-healing circulatory wounds, diabetic foot wounds, pressure ulcers, surgical wounds, traumatic wounds and burns can all find the treatment they need for successful wound healing.

The Wound Care Institute is located at 1203 Hadley Road in the Professional Building on the campus of St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville.

Team Approach The wound care team includes a network of wound specialists, podiatrists, cardiologists, vascular surgeons, endocrinologists, infectious disease specialists and hospitalists who work together to find underlying causes of chronic wounds. In addition to examining the wound, the patient's history is reviewed carefully. A patient's underlying medical conditions and circumstances determine the cause of the wound and influence treatment decisions. Close communications with the referring physician and detailed reports ensure the patient’s regular physician is involved in the patient’s care throughout the process. “We will develop a treatment program based on the patient’s special needs,” said Scott Neville, D.P.M., a wound specialist with the center.

The program will include regular visits to the Wound Care Institute for treatment, to evaluate progress and to make any treatment changes that might be needed. The patient will be given detailed instructions in home care, dressing changes and protecting the wound from further injury.

Certified wound care nurses will work with each patient to achieve individualized goals. The wound care team also will work closely with the family to educate them on the treatment options and to better help in their loved one's recovery.

“By combining state-of-the-art equipment and techniques with the St. Francis commitment to caring, the Wound Care Institute offers the best choice for patient care and hope for healing,” Neville said.
For more information, call 317-834-4300 or visit

Keep 'em safe: May 16 child seat safety inspection is free to public

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, Safe Kids Morgan County and State Farm Insurance Regional are sponsoring a car seat check, May 16.

The event, which is free to the public, is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will be at the old Damon’s parking lot at 610 Birk Road, near State Road. 37.

Trained safety staff from St. Francis will be on hand to perform car seat checks on all size kids, first come, first serve.

For more information, call 317-834-5817.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Free Women’s Health Expo slated for Plainfield Health Center, May 16

PLAINFIELD, Ind. – Women will meet St. Francis Plainfield Health Center medical experts who can answer their health and wellness questions at the Women’s Health Expo, Saturday, May 16.

The event, which is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and sponsored by the St. Francis Plainfield Health Center, gives participants the chance to meet face-to-face with an obstetrician, family medicine physicians and a physical therapist. Free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings also will be provided by the St. Francis-based Indiana Heart Physicians.

The first 50 participants will receive free gifts and all attendees will be eligible to win a $150 baby gift basket.

Serving Hendricks and Morgan Counties, the St. Francis Plainfield Health Center offers convenient health care services close to home. The 22,000-square-foot medical office houses several physician practices and medical services.

For more information about the center, go to

Surgeon explains orthopaedic, joint replacement therapies May 13

RICHMOND, 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, May 13, at the Holiday Inn, 5501 National Road East. In the spotlight is a hip and knee replacement seminar.

John Meding, M.D., will explain the latest procedures in joint replacement and arthritis treatments. He is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon specializing in adult reconstructive surgery 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 three 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

Thursday, May 7, 2009

‘Emotional Eating’ support on menu at St. Francis Weight Loss Center

INDIANAPOLIS – Occasional “emotional eating” isn't a problem for most people. After all, that's what makes comfort food so appealing. But turning to food every time a person has unpleasant feelings – or even positive ones – can lead to weight gain.

Emotional eaters may find it difficult to stop on their own. Finding a support group for people dealing with similar issues can provide guidance for dealing with emotional eating.The Emotional Eating Support Group at the St. Francis Weight Loss Center is for anyone trying to lose weight and struggling with emotional overeating, also known as compulsive overeating or binge eating.

This group offers support to patients struggling with emotional eating, or using food for reasons other than physical hunger and feeling unable to stop the behavior.

The groups will be led by Holly Pittman, a therapist at the Center, has extensive experience providing individual, couples, and group therapy to patients with eating, mental health and addiction issues.

The latest session gets under way 6 p.m. Monday, June 1, with each session held Mondays at the St. Francis Weight Loss Center, 5230-A E. Stop 11 Road, across Stop 11 Road from the St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis campus.

There is a fee for those registering for the program. Call 317-782-7525 or visit for additional information.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Students poised to graduate from St. Francis School of Medical Technology

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Five students are poised to graduate from the St. Francis School of Medical Technology.

Upon completion of the St. Francis program, the students also received undergraduate degrees from their respective schools. The 2009 graduates are:

Purdue University: Emily Fisher (BS medical technology; minor, forensics), Stephanie Simmons (BS medical technology), and Ted Such (BS medical technology).

Miami University (Ohio): Stephanie Herrmann (BS clinical laboratory science) and Chris Murrell (BS clinical laboratory science). Both of these students received undergraduate degrees in microbiology in 2008.

Graduation is set for 1:30 p.m., Friday, May 29, at the auditorium at St. Francis-Beech Grove.

The St. Francis School of Medical Technology is affiliated with several colleges and universities across the Midwest. The school, which is a division of the hospital’s clinical laboratory, was established in 1967 and is dedicated to preparing
professional medical technologists with the theoretical and practical training to serve as active members of the health care team in clinical laboratory science.

St. Francis’ Beech Grove campus houses many of the educational opportunities and services. The school’s facilities include a student laboratory that features lecture and audiovisual facilities and an adjoining library.

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.

More information about the St. Francis School of Medical Technology is at

St. Francis director appointed to national health care advisory committee

INDIANAPOLIS – Chris DiGiusto, director of the Orthopedics/Neurosciences at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, has been selected to serve on the Early Careerist Committee for the American College of Healthcare Executives.

In that role, he will provide feedback to the ACHE on its programs, products and services, and recommend ways to expand contact with your health care executives, and suggest methods to bolster the organization’s Early Careerist Network.

A Fellow of the ACHE, DiGiusto has been associated with St. Francis since 2003 and has held several management and consulting positions.

DiGiusto, an Indianapolis resident, 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.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nurse navigator will guide breast cancer patients through treatment

INDIANAPOLIS – Janice Leak, M.S.N., has been appointed as a nurse navigator at the St. Francis Breast Cancer Center of Excellence.

She will assist breast cancer patients and their families in coordinating diagnostic appointments and physician visits, help them manage their symptoms, provide education, make patients aware of clinical trial availability and very importantly, easing patient anxiety.

Leak is part St. Francis’ team of nurse navigators with other nurses assigned to help patients with colorectal and lung cancers. In 2006, she became St. Francis’ first nurse navigator, serving patients diagnosed with oral and head and neck cancers.

A resident of Indianapolis, Leak is a nurse practitioner and earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Indiana University. She has held several positions in the 35 years she has worked at St. Francis, most notably as an oncology nurse and educator.

Leak has led and coordinated various cancer-related clinical, educational and patient support programs during her tenure at St. Francis.

She is on faculty for the nursing education program at Indiana Wesleyan University and has been a frequent lecturer at the University of Indianapolis and the IU School of Nursing. Leak also has held several leadership positions in the local chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society.

To learn more about the Cancer Services at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, go to

Friday, May 1, 2009

St. Francis cardiac expert explains heart valve disease, murmurs

INDIANAPOLIS – When most people think about murmurs and heart disease, they don’t think about their heart valves, which regulate the flow of blood and oxygen through the four chambers of the heart.

At an upcoming “Ask the Doc” program sponsored by the St. Francis Heart Center at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 14, cardiothoracic surgeon Marc Gerdisch, M.D., will explain the importance of understanding why heart valves may cause murmurs and when it’s time to seek treatment.

Gerdisch will answer questions about advanced and innovative techniques that set new standards for murmurs and heart valve treatment at St. Francis. Attendees also will be eligible for a free valvular echo screening.

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

More than 5 million Americans suffer from some form of heart valve disease, according to the American Heart Association.

The “Ask the Doc” program will be at the Heart Center’s Community Center at 8111 S. Emerson Ave.

To register for this free program, go to, or call 317-782-4422