News Center

Monday, August 31, 2009

St. Francis, Anthem contract ensures continuum of care for patients

INDIANAPOLIS – The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana today (Aug. 31) announced a new multiyear contract that will maintain in-network healthcare benefits for policyholders and employer groups throughout Indiana.

The previous contract was set to expire Sept. 1.

The agreement covers the following SSFHS medical facilities and physicians:

· St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers (Indianapolis)
· St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers (Beech Grove)
· St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers (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)
· Indiana Bone and Marrow Transplantation Unit (Beech Grove)
· More than 300 physicians throughout the SSFHS service areas

Health insurance plans covered are Anthem Blue Access PPO, Anthem Blue Preferred HMO, Anthem Traditional, Anthem Medicare Advantage PPO, Lumenos, Hoosier Healthwise (Indiana Medicaid) and Anthem Healthy Indiana Plan.

“We recognize how difficult this has been for our patients and appreciate their support and patience during the negotiations,” said Jay Brehm, SSFHS regional chief financial officer and chief negotiator for the hospital system. “The agreement we have forged, in the end, ensures our mission to provide patients with the timely and compassionate care they expect and deserve.”

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Sisters of St. Francis Health Services because it ensures that our customers will have uninterrupted, in-network access to medical care at SSFHS facilities across Indiana,” said David Lee, M.D., vice president of health services for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “This contract achieves our number one goal of keeping health care affordable for our members.”

Saturday, August 29, 2009

St. Francis, Anthem reach contract agreement in principle

INDIANAPOLIS – Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Sisters of St.
Francis Health Services, Inc. today (Aug. 29) announced they have reached an agreement in principle on a contract that will maintain in-network health care benefits for policyholders and employer groups throughout Indiana.

Final details are being ironed out, and we hope to have an official announcement soon.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

St. Francis Palliative Care Clinic provides myriad resources to patients

INDIANAPOLIS – Patients who have been diagnosed with a serious illness face a myriad of questions and issues, many of which they have never had to address before.

Mercy Obeime, M.D., family physician with additional training in palliative medicine, likes to seize the moment as an opportunity to begin a planning process that will carry them through the rest of their lives, whether that be six months or 10 years.

“While patients are still able and receiving treatment for their illness, we can discuss how they could provide for their families if they become unable to work and we identify specific community resources they could call upon,” said Obeime, a St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers physician.

“We talk about living wills, power of attorney and funeral wishes as well as pain management,” she added.

Obeime is well known for her work with the uninsured and underinsured at the St. Francis Neighborhood Center at Garfield Park. She’s now branching out to provide an outpatient palliative care clinic to serve those who need help planning for the future in the face of a serious illness.

“It’s important to remember that curative and palliative measures can happen at the same time,” she said.
Palliative care focuses on relief of pain and other symptoms of a serious illness, like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), congestive heart failure or cancer.

Treatments address shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping.

Palliative care can also help patients better understand their choices for care and gain the strength to carry on with daily life. The overall goal is to enhance the patient’s quality of life.

Obeime pulls from her resource network established because of her work at the neighborhood health center. She also emphasizes the holistic approach to palliative care, looking at the physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs of each patient.

“The goal is wellness in all four of those patients’ needs,” she said.

Another goal of the palliative care clinic is to refer patients to hospice sooner rather than later. Medicare coverage for hospice patients begins when two physicians certify the patient has six months or less to live.

The Palliative Care Clinic at the St. Francis Neighborhood Health Center, located at 234 East Southern Ave, is open four half days on Tuesdays and Thursdays each month by appointment.

Patients can be referred to Dr. Obeime by calling 317-781-9669.

More information about the St. Francis Neighborhood Health Center is at

The center is a funding priority of the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation. Each year the foundation raises significant contributions to assist the the facility.

St. Francis ortho surgeon explains joint replacement, arthritis therapies

INDIANAPOLIS, 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, Sept. 17, at the Indianapolis Marriott East, 7202 E. 21st St. 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 orthopaedic surgeon specializing in adult reconstructive surgery and joint replacement.

Berend 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

Physiatrist signs aboard St. Francis Franciscan Spine Center

INDIANAPOLIS – Erika Cottrell, M.D., a member of St. Francis Medical Group, will establish a practice at the Franciscan Spine Center at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, effective Aug. 31.

Cottrell comes to St. Francis from Integra Healthcare, where she was a staff physiatrist. Previously, she held similar positions with Clarian Health Partners and Community North and South hospitals.

She received her undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University, where she amassed honors, including the Big Ten Conference Medal awarded to outstanding female scholars-athletes.

A graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine where she completed her residency training, Cottrell also served a transitional year internship at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.

Cottrell holds memberships in the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Indiana Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Students begin studies at St. Francis School of Medical Technology

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Five students have entered the year-long St. Francis School of Medical Technology and will receive specialized training to augment their undergraduate studies.

They are: Sabrina Bae (Purdue University), Chelsie Goyings (Miami University of Ohio), Heath Hursey (Indiana University Purdue-University at Fort Wayne), Tim McFarlane (Ball State University), and Leah Reiman (Purdue).

The students began their clinical training in July and are expected to graduate from the program in June 2010.

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

St. Francis-based Senior Promise offers fall health festival

INDIANAPOLIS – Senior Promise is hosting its Fall Health Festival, Friday, Oct. 16, at The Atrium, 3143 E. Thompson Road.

The annual event, which is from 9 a.m. to noon, is geared for those age 50 and older, people with diabetes, caregivers and anyone seeking community resources for seniors and people with disabilities. There’s adequate parking at The Atrium, which is wheelchair-accessible.

The festival offers several health screenings, most of which are free, and information on a variety of medical topics. A limited number of cholesterol screenings will be available, so participants are asked to stop by the booth to receive a scheduled time to return for the test.

Senior Promise, a program based at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, also will offer free flu shots at the Fall Health Festival Medicare participantsThose without the card will be charged $20. If the flu vaccine does not arrive in time for the event, vouchers will be given to participants, enabling them to receive a free flu shot at a later date.

Some of the screenings available include blood pressure, osteoporosis, foot screening, colorectal cancer, balance assessment, hearing screening and lymphedema screening.

Launched in 1987, Senior Promise provides its 9,000-plus members a variety of meaningful services and benefits for people age 50 and older.

More information about the program is at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, Safe Kids host car-seat safety check

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville and Safe Kids Morgan County are sponsoring a car seat safety check on Sept. 12.

The event, which is free to the public, will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville in the St. Francis Family Medical Pavilion parking lot on the west side of the campus.

Winter will soon be upon us, and we want to keep our kids safe and properly secured in a car seat. We will check all sizes of kids, all sizes of car seats and have car seats available.

For more information, call 317-834-5817.

St. Francis Heart Center offers free heart-healthy courses in September

INDIANAPOLIS – Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.

Prevention is the key to lowering your chances of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease, stroke or high blood pressure. St. Francis Heart Center is offering free classes, programs, health fairs and screenings throughout September to improve the community’s health through education and prevention.

Starting Sept. 1, nine “Change of Heart” and one “Ask the Doc” classes will be offered in the Indianapolis and Mooresville areas. All of the events are open and free to the public.Several of the Change of Heart classes will be held at the St. Francis Heart Center’s Community Center, located on the southeast corner of St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.

Registration is required. Call 317-782-4422 or register online at for these and many other classes throughout the fall.

Good Health Starts Here
Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Reduce Stress
Sept. 2, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Ask the Doc: How to Protect Yourself from Stroke
Presented by Carl Rouch, M.D.
Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Cooking for Your Heart
Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Super Shopping
Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m.
Kroger, 5911 Madison Ave.

Heart Smart Dining
Sept. 17, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Good Health Starts Here
Sept. 22, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville
(1201 Hadley Road)

Creative Cuisine
Sept. 23, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Exercise for Your Heart
Sept. 24, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Good Health Starts Here
Sept. 30, 6:30 p.m.
St. Francis Heart Center

Ask the Doc: How to Protect Yourself from Stroke
Critical arteries don’t just lead to the heart – they also lead to the head and legs. Cardiologist Carl Rouch, M.D., will discuss the importance of keeping the carotid artery leading to the brain free of plaque and disease, decreasing the risk for stroke. Class attendees may sign up for a free carotid artery screening.

Creative Cuisine
New and different ingredients make cooking meals more fun and nutritious. Surprise your family with healthy meals made from the simple recipes taught in this class. Taste prepared samples as you learn.

Cooking for Your Heart
Healthy cooking leads to a healthy life. Learn how to choose the right ingredients that pump up the nutritional value of your favorite recipes. Taste testing during this class is encouraged!

Exercise for Your Heart
If you can’t find time to exercise or aren’t sure what the best exercise is for you, this class is for you. Discover that exercise can be healthy and fun. Learn how to set up a schedule for yourself.

Good Health Starts Here
Discover the building blocks of nutrition and how fats, carbohydrates and protein affect your body. Learn about healthy fats, the benefits of fiber and sodium requirements in your diet. This class offers the foundation for the remaining classes in the series and is just the beginning of a healthy lifestyle!

Heart Smart Dining
Americans eat nearly half their meals away from home. How can you control what you eat when you don’t cook for yourself? Learn how to make wise menu selections and eat smart while dining out.

Reduce Stress
Learn to identify the causes of stress in your life and how to improve your health in this class. The instructor is James Nicolai, M.D., medical director of the Franciscan Center for Integrative Medicine.

Super Shopping
With all the new and changing products on the shelves, grocery shopping can be overwhelming. Learn where to find the healthy foods and avoid packaging tricks while touring the grocery store with our dietician. Discover how food labels make you a smarter shopper.

Physician establishes practice with St. Francis Hospital cardiology group

INDIANAPOLIS – Sunil S. Advani, M.D., has established a new practice with the Indiana Heart Physicians at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

Advani most recently was affiliated with Clinical Cardiovascular Specialists at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and was an investigator with the MidWest Cardiology Research Foundation.

He has wide experience and completed fellowships in interventional cardiology and adult cardiovascular disease (The Ohio State University Medical Center), peripheral vascular intervention (Lindner Center of Christ Hospital) and adult congenital heart disease (Columbus Children’s Hospital).

Advani is board-certified in cardiovascular disease, internal medicine and pediatrics and has extensive training in interventional cardiology and cardiac imaging. He has been an active investigator in clinical trials and has been widely published in professional journals.

A graduate of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Advani completed a combined medicine/pediatrics residencies at the OSU Medical Center and Columbus Children’s Hospital.

He earned various academic honors, including memberships in Alpha Omega Alpha (Ohio State) and Phi Beta Kappa (Duke University).

IHP was established in 1978 under the direction of H.O. “Buzz” Hickman, M.D. In addition to its long-established relationship with St. Francis, IHP also has affiliations with Morgan Hospital and Medical Center in Martinsville and Major Hospital in Shelbyville.

Last year, nearly 70,000 patients were seen at IHP, including office visits, testing and procedures.

IHP integrated it services with St. Francis Aug. 3, 2009.

To learn more about the Indiana Heart Physicians, go to More information about St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No pain, great gain at St. Francis Joint & Spine Center free seminars

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – The human body speaks loud and clear when something isn’t quite right: Pain.

That’s why the St. Francis Joint & Spine Center offers free monthly Hip & Knee Education seminars for people who are interested in learning about treatment options for painful joints. All seminars are located at the St. Francis Joint & Spine Center, 2nd Floor, St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove, 1600 Albany St., Beech Grove.

Topics include pain relief, signs and symptoms of joint problems, normal and abnormal anatomy, treatment options and new technology.

Upcoming seminars are scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 27; 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 29; and 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19.

To register, 317-782-4422 or go on-line at

The St. Francis Joint & Spine Center provides expert diagnosis and treatment options for lifelong relief from chronic hip and knee problems. Among the services offered are partial replacements, minimally invasive surgical techniques for total joint replacement and advanced post-operation pain control.

The center’s team is made up of board-certified orthopedic surgeons, interventional radiologists, certified orthopedic nurses, and physical therapists. Internal medicine physicians are on staff for pre-operative physical exams and screenings.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Long-time family medicine practice joins St. Francis Medical Group

INDIANAPOLIS – Gray Road Family Medicine has joined the St. Francis Medical Group.

The physicians, all of whom completed their residencies at St. Francis, have been in practice together for more than 30 years. They are Roger Core, M.D.; John Lawlis, M.D.; Max Runkle, M.D.; and Philip Snyder, M.D.

The four are graduates of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Gray Road Family Medicine is located at 6801 Gray Road, Suite A, Indianapolis, Ind., 46237.

Drs. Lawlis and Snyder are accepting new patients. To make an appointment call 317-787-9471.

The St. Francis Medical Group is an association of physicians affiliated with St. Francis Hospital to provide high quality medical care to the residents of Indianapolis and south-central Indiana. St. Francis Medical Group offices are conveniently located in many parts of the metropolitan area.

For more information about St. Francis Medical Group, go to

St. Francis physician explains advance directives at cancer seminar

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s vital one has the ability to specify what actions should be taken for their health in the event that they are no longer able to make decisions due to illness or incapacity.

Gerald Walthall, M.D., medical director with the St. Francis Hospital Palliative Medicine team, will discuss the purpose of advance directives and why it’s important for individuals to have one at a free seminar for cancer patients and their families 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3.

This meeting is at the St. Francis Education Center, 5935 S. Emerson Ave., Suite 100. This discussion will coincide with the monthly Indianapolis Southside chapter of SPOHNC (Support for People with Head and Neck Cancer.) 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 or to register for this event, call 317-782-4422. Sponsored by the St. Francis Cancer Center,

St. Francis cancer survivors on deck for Aug. 23 baseball game

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 400 cancer survivors and guests will be on hand to root for the Indianapolis Indians as they meet the Columbus Clippers at Victory Field. And in doing so they also will be celebrating their personal victories over cancer with the help of the expert care and treatment they received at the St. Francis Cancer Center.

The Cancer Center invited these patients and their families to the 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 23 game, providing them with free tickets and “Tribe Tokens” to be used for food and merchandise. A cancer survivor will throw out the first pitch.

The guests will occupy specially designated sections in the upper and lower decks.

This is the second St. Francis Cancer Survivor’s Day Celebration held at Victory Field.

For more information about the St. Francis Cancer Center and its services, go to

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Youngsters learn grief coping skills through bereavement program

INDIANAPOLIS – Consider the caterpillar: It builds a cocoon and remains safe until it transforms and emerges into a new life, one that takes flight.

Death is a part of the life cycle, and it’s especially difficult for children to grasp and make sense out of it, particularly when they lose a loved one. And that’s why St. Francis Hospice offers Caterpillar Kids, a support program that offers learning experiences for children ages 5 to 12.

“Children do grieve and they may express it differently than adults, but their feelings are as genuine and essential in healing,” said bereavement coordinator Karla Norton. “Caterpillar Kids brings children together in a safe, nurturing environment where they receive information about grief and learn healthy ways to cope with the death of a loved one.”

St. Francis Hospice will offer its Spring Caterpillar Kids program beginning Wednesday, Sept. 23 and ending Oct. 28. The workshops, which are free, are from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., meeting each Wednesday.

Meetings are at Christ United Methodist Church, 8540 U.S. 31 South, one mile north of Greenwood Park Mall.

Led by staff trained in bereavement support for children, youngsters participate in storytelling, art projects, games and other sharing opportunities. Parents also are invited to participate in a concurrent session to assist them in supporting their children.

Registration is required. To register or for more information about Caterpillar Kids, call 317-865-2092 or toll-free at 800-390-9915.

More information about St. Francis Hospice is at

St. Francis Cancer Center will offer free prostate screenings

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Cancer Center is hosting a free prostate cancer screenings at its hospitals in Indianapolis and Mooresville in September

Males over the age of 50, and younger males with a family history of prostate cancer, are encouraged participate in the screenings, which include a rectal exam by either a physician or physician assistant, and a blood test, called prostate-specific antigen (PSA).

Locations and times for the screenings:

Thursday, Sept, 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Cancer Center, St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, 1215 Hadley Rd., Suite 105.

Saturday, Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to Noon at the Cancer Center, St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.

Screenings are free and take just a few minutes, however pre-registration is required. For information or to register for the screening, call (317) 782-4422 as space is limited.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Iraq War vet visits St. Francis Hospital to say ‘thanks’ for donations

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – An Army veteran met with St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers leaders and conveyed her fellow soldiers’ appreciation to hospital employees who donated DVD movies to her unit last spring.

Staff Sgt. Andrea Cowden met Aug. 12 with St. Francis President and CEO Robert J. Brody and Sister Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission services and presented the hospital with a certificate of appreciation and an American flag flown over her unit, the Indianapolis-based 55th Medical Company.

GRATEFUL SERVICE: From left, Staff Sgt. Cowden, Sister Marlene, Bob Brody and Jim Poole
“I want to express just how much your donations and thoughtfulness meant to members of my unit,” said Cowden, a reservist who is serving her second tour of duty in Iraq. “We are so honored to have your support.”
Cowden is the daughter of Kathleen Cowden, a staff dietitian at St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove, who along with Jim Poole, Senior Promise director at St. Francis, coordinated a drive among hospital employees to donate 200 new DVDs for Sgt. Cowden and her fellow troops.

“We’re very proud of you and all members of the military who serve our country so bravely in Iraq and elsewhere,” said Brody, who pledged St. Francis’ future support. ”We will never forget you.”

Cowden, a mental health specialist, is home on leave from Camp Liberty. It was the site of an incident last spring where a solider is alleged to have killed five American troops at the installation.

St. Francis HR staffers reap national recognition for employee communications

INDIANAPOLIS – Two human resources professionals will be honored for their work in creating an internal electronic newsletter for employees at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

Employee Communications Specialist Keri Brantley and Karen Sagar, director of recruitment and retention, have earned the 2009 Communication Award (Internal Electronic Communication category) from the American Society of Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA). They will receive the award Nov. 3 at the society’s annual conference in Chicago.

Both are credited with the creation of eSource, an electronic newsletter distributed to St. Francis employees. It is the primary tool – carrying the distinctive St. Francis brand – used by human resources to communicate with all managers and employees.

The newsletter covers a variety of topics about employee compensation, benefits, health screenings and other timely developments at the hospital’s campuses at Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville.

Brantley, who received her associate’s of business degree from Indiana Wesleyan University, has been affiliated with St. Francis and Alverno Information Services (a division of the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services) since 1998. She has varied experience in communications, human resources and systems analysis.

Sagar has 25 years experience in human resources, most of which has been in the health-care field. She earned her master’s of business administration from the University of Phoenix and her undergraduate degree in psychology from West Virginia’s Marshall University. She’s also the current president of the Indiana Society for Healthcare Human Resources and Administration.

The ASHHRRA Communication Award is for members who have written noteworthy books, articles and electronic communications related to the human resources profession.

ASHHRA is a national organization representing human resources professionals in health care.

St. Francis Heart Center offers several low-cost screening opportunities

INDIANAPOLIS – The St. Francis Heart Center has again joined LifeLine Screenings to offer low-cost health screenings at several south-side locations.

These preventive screenings are noninvasive and use ultrasound to test for peripheral vascular disease, carotid artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm and osteoporosis.

Knowing your risk of any of these conditions can help you and your physician determine what treatments to choose or preventive measures to take to lower your risks.

The next screening dates and locations are:
Aug. 19- St. Francis Heart Center, 8111 S. Emerson Ave., Entrance #1, Indianapolis

Aug. 20-St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, 1201 Hadley Road, Mooresville

Sept. 15-Knights of Columbus, 511 E. Thompson Road, Indianapolis

Sept. 20-Hornet Park Community Center, 5245 Hornet Ave., Beech Grove

The price for all four screenings is $129; individual tests are $45 each. Tests take about 45 minutes to complete and registration is required. To make an appointment, call toll-free 800-779-6353.

More information about the St. Francis Heart Center is at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

St. Francis returns as title sponsor of Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

IMM names WISH-TV reporter as new executive director

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon has named WISH-TV’s 24-Hour News 8’s Julie Patterson as its executive director.

“Her experience in the media combined with her joy of running and dedication to a worthwhile cause make her an excellent fit for us,” said IMM President Carlton Ray.

Patterson has a “passion for running” and recently ran the 113th Boston Marathon, noted Ray. She also ran the Monumental Half Marathon in its inaugural year, 2008. She also teaches a weekly women’s running class at Fitness Concepts.

Her experience behind the scenes includes her long-term involvement with many local races benefiting local charities such as The Will Power Run/Walk, The Stop HD Walk and The Race against Domestic Violence.

“Promoting health and wellness benefits our entire community, particularly our youth,” said Patterson, who has spent much of her broadcasting career in radio, including the “Julie and Steve’ morning show on WZPL-99.5 FM, for more than a decade. She also appears weekdays on WISH-TV’s “Daybreak,” delivering morning traffic reports. She also produces a weekly cultural events segment called “Hot Spot” for that station.

St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is returning as the title sponsor of this year’s IMM. The hospital will provide support, including physicians, nurses staff, podiatrists, physical therapists and other medical staff through under the direction of Jeffrey Peterson, M.D. of Southport Family Practice and Sports Medicine.

The 2009 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon will be Nov. 7. 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 2010 and 2011 Boston Marathon.

To learn more about the event, its supported charities and its organization, go to
For more information about St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers visit

St. Francis’ South 31 Family Care opens doors for public visit

INDIANAPOLIS – The doors at South 31 Family Care will be open to the public , 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 27, at its new south side location.

Tours and refreshments will be offered at the newly opened center, located U.S. 31 and Southport Road.

Physicians on staff also will be on hand to meet with guests. The four physicians, all of whom are members of St. Francis Medical Group are: Matthew Wolf, M.D., Joe Johnston, M.D.; Lisa Altuglu, M.D.; and John Baldea, M.D.

South 31 Family Care is a new St. Francis family practice located at 610 E. Southport Road at the corner of Southport Road and U.S. 31. The phone number is 317-781-7370.

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, Sept. 7.

The sessions are offered free, however, registration is recommended. Caregivers are welcome.

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

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cardiac caregivers prep for St. Francis Heart Center symposium

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 300 cardiac care professionals are expected to attend the second annual St. Francis Cardiovascular Symposium on Friday, Sept. 18.

Hosted by the St. Francis Heart Center, participants will join nationally and internationally recognized physicians as they discuss the latest cardiac surgical procedures and interventions.

Marc Gerdisch, M.D., director of cardiothoracic surgery at St. Francis, will be one of the key presenters. Gerdisch, co-director of the St. Francis Midwest Heart Valve Center, is the first in the world to use tissue regeneration technology that allows patients to rebuild their own cardiovascular tissue.

He will discuss how the revolutionary technology can be used to modify and repair cardiac structures, allowing heart tissue to re-grow inside the beating hearts of heart surgery patients.

Other topics include surgical treatments for heart valve disease, current treatment options for heart failure patients and the challenges of treating our octogenarian patients. Experts also will discuss treatment options for obesity, one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

Presenters include the physicians and surgeons of Indiana Heart Physicians, Cardiac Surgery Associates and the St. Francis Weight Loss Center.
The symposium will be from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station in downtown Indianapolis.

To register for the symposium, visit and click on the “CME (SYMPOSIUM) 2009” tab. For more information, 317-893-1870.

St. Francis equips metro area emergency trucks with wireless heart attack monitors

INDIANAPOLIS – Time is critical when a heart attack patient is being transported by ambulance to the emergency room. And that time is being further reduced for Morgan County residents.

St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers and Brown Township Fire & Rescue have forged a partnership that will save lives and improve outcomes for heart attacks. St. Francis has financed the installation of specialized communications modems for two advanced life support trucks.

The modems allow paramedics to attach equipment and transmit patients’ electrocardiograms (EKGs) in real time to emergency room physicians. The EKG readings enable St. Francis and other hospitals to activate their catheterization labs for those experiencing ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarctions (STEMI).

“Clinical studies have shown that methods to speed the identification, transportation and intervention for these patients can lead to a significant reduction in potentially serious outcomes,” said Michael Hertel, executive director of the St. Francis Heart Center. “Reducing those outcomes occurs when first responders, emergency department physicians, cardiologists, nurses and other clinical staff work as a team and have the necessary technology and information to treat heart attack patients quickly.”

Morgan County officials also expressed confidence in the benefits of ambulance EKG technology.

“As an advanced cardiac life support instructor and an administrator, I sincerely believe the technology will make a monumental difference in the lives of those experiencing cardiovascular disorders,” said Steve Brock, president of Morgan County Emergency Medical Services and coordinator of Brown Township Fire & Rescue EMS.

St. Francis launched its on-board EKG program April 1, 2009. So far, it has equipped 36 emergency vehicles in Marion, Johnson, Shelby and Morgan counties with the technology.

St. Francis recently received high marks for its heart attack outcomes from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In mid-July, CMS reported St. Francis as having the lowest heart attack death rates among Indiana hospitals and ranked 19th nationally among 4,600 reporting hospitals

A major factor in St. Francis’ success in treating cardiac patients is its Emergency Heart Attack Response Team. The program, the first of its kind in the medical world, cuts down the time between a patient's arrival at the emergency room and treatment, lessening the severity of the attack and saving substantially more heart muscle. This greatly improves the patient's chances of making a full recovery.

This program has been recognized by the nation's top heart specialists and organizations – even earning a write-up in Circulation. In fact, the protocol has been requested by more than 300 hospitals and heart experts across the country and the world.

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

Cancer support group for oral, head, neck patients meets Sept. 3

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, Sept. 3.

The next class meets Thursday, Oct. 1.

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.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Orthopaedic surgeon establishes new practice at St. Francis

INDIANAPOLIS – Michael E. Ralston, M.D., a member of St. Francis Medical Group, has joined Orthopaedic Restoration at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

Ralston is an honors undergraduate of The Ohio State University, where he also earned his medical degree. He completed a surgical internship and residency training at the University of Florida, and later completed a fellowship in total joint replacement at The Ohio State University.

Ralston is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Orthopaedic Restoration at St. Francis is located at 701 E. County Line Rd., Suite 204, Greenwood. For appointment information, call 317-887-2034, or toll-free 317-945-0217.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weight Loss Center adds ‘Eat for Life’ program to wellness menu

INDIANAPOLIS – We all know the importance of eating right and exercising for good health. But sometimes we stumble on the roadblocks in our path to success, and we just need a little support to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

That’s what makes the St. Francis Eat for Life Wellness Program unique. The 10-week, comprehensive weight management program teaches skills needed to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.The latest program gets under way 6 p.m., Aug. 27 with each session held Thursdays at the St. Francis Weight Loss Center, 5230-A E. Stop 11 Road, across Stop 11 Road from the St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis campus.

Each session offers participants the opportunity to track their weight, sample a healthy food, and participate in discussions on a variety of topics. Topics include creating a plan for balanced eating, determining portion sizes, understanding food labels, choosing healthy snacks, dining out, menu planning, recipe modification, exercise, and a grocery store tour.

To learn more about the program, contact Leann Matlik, R.D. at 317-851-3697, or via email

There is a fee of $125 to register for the program.

To register, call 317-782-7525 or visit for additional information.

St. Francis program helps women with cancer ‘Look Good, Feel Better’

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis will host a free workshop for women with cancer from noon to 2 p.m., Monday, Aug. 17, at the hospital, 8111 S. Emerson Ave, in Classroom 2.

The Look Good, Feel Better workshop teaches women with cancer beauty techniques to help restore their appearance and self-image during chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Licensed cosmetologists lead small groups, usually consisting of six to 10 women, through practical, hands-on experience. Women learn about makeup techniques, skin care, nail care, and options related to hair loss such as wigs, turbans, and scarves. Each patient receives a free kit of cosmetics for use during and after the workshop.

The workshop is supported by the American Cancer Society
[b1] , Personal Care Products Council Foundation and the National Cosmetology Association. Family members and caregivers are also welcome to attend.

Registration is required since seating is limited. To register, call (317) 782-4422.

For more information on cancer services at St. Francis Hospital, visit

[b1], Personal Care Products Council Foundation

Group offers support, shared experiences for blood cancer patients

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

That ‘s why 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, Aug. 18.

The next class meets Tuesday, Sept. 15.

The meeting is at the Beech Grove Meadows, 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 will be provided 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 Transplantion unit at St. Francis can be found at

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

St. Francis family medicine veterans move practice location

INDIANAPOLIS – Two St. Francis Medical Group physicians are relocating their family medicine practices to a new location in early August.

Matt Wolf, M.D., and Joe Johnston, M.D., will see patients at the newly opened South 31 Family Care center, located at U.S. 31 and Southport Road. They previously practiced at St. Francis Center Grove Family Medicine.

They will be joined by Lisa Altuglu, M.D., and John Baldea, M.D., at the new location.

Wolf and Johnston are board-certified in family medicine and also provide obstetrical care and delivering babies at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis.

Both physicians completed their residencies at St. Francis and were graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine.

To schedule an appointment at South 31 Family Care, call 317-781-7370.