News Center

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

St. Francis-Mooresville surgeon explains orthopedic therapies Oct. 28

INDIANAPOLIS – 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, Oct. 28, at the Occasions Banquet Hall, 415 E. Hendricks St., Shelbyville, Ind. 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 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

St. Francis reaches agreement with feds on kyphoplasty billings

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has reached a settlement with the U.S.Department of Justice regarding the billing of kyphoplasty procedures performed at its Beech Grove and Indianapolis campuses from 2002 to 2005.

The settlement is part of a nationwide investigation of hospitals regarding kyphoplasty billing practices. St. Francis will pay Medicare $3.15 million for those cases that did not meet the criteria for inpatient admission.

Upon being notified of the investigation, St. Francis cooperated fully with the government and took immediate action to investigate its practices. It is important to note that the probe had nothing to do with quality of care, patient safety or medical necessity, hospital officials emphasized.

The focus of the investigation was on the lack of documentation to support the treatment in an inpatient setting.

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive spinal procedure used to treat painful, progressive vertebrae compression fractures. It involves using a balloon-type device to restore the height and shape of the affected vertebrae, followed by using a strengthening bone cement.

In August 2008, St. Francis was notified by the Department of Justice that it was part of a nationwide investigation related to a lawsuit brought against Kyphon Inc. The suit alleged that Kyphon encouraged hospitals and physicians to perform kyphoplasty as an inpatient procedure, when an outpatient setting may, in some cases, have been more appropriate.

Regardless of whether the procedure was provided in the inpatient or outpatient setting, all patients who had the procedure performed at St. Francis received appropriate, medically necessary and high quality care, hospital officials emphasized.

St. Francis is a non-profit health care organization focused on its mission of providing quality and compassionate health care services to the community.

“St. Francis Hospital is committed to compliance with all federal and state health-care regulations. We have taken the necessary steps and implemented new policies to ensure compliance and to prevent similar incidents from occurring,” said Robert J. Brody, St. Francis president and chief executive officer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New St. Francis Emergency Department serves 31,000 patients in its first year

Hospital meeting critical need for residents in Mooresville and surrounding areas

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Whether it’s a sick child in the middle of the night, a serious sports injury or a sudden severe health issue, residents of northern Morgan and southern Hendricks counties are turning to the area’s newest emergency department, celebrating its first anniversary on Oct. 1.

The year-old Emergency Department at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville is far exceeding the predicted number of patients using its services. More than 31,300 patients have visited the ED in its first year of operation – nearly twice what was originally projected.

“The number of people we are treating underscores just how badly such a service was needed in this community,” said Jared Stark, executive director of the Mooresville hospital. “We had heard as much from many community leaders prior to our opening the ED, and since then, the response from residents has been extremely positive. While we wish no one would ever need emergency services, we’re glad we’re nearby when they do.”

“The opening of the Emergency Department was the culmination of our recent expansion in Mooresville to address the health care needs of the growing northern Morgan, Hendricks and southwestern Marion counties,” said Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. “St. Francis-Mooresville has built on its foundation as a renowned specialty hospital — known for excellence in orthopaedics, colon and rectal care, women’s services and many other areas — to become a full-service hospital, addressing all the health care needs of our community.”

In the same year the Emergency Department opened, the hospital added:
· A new 34-bed orthopaedic inpatient unit;
· A 26-bed adult medical-surgical inpatient unit;
· An eight-bed Intensive Care Unit;
· Six new operating rooms with the latest in surgical technologies;
· A new laboratory; and
· An on-site office for Indiana Heart Physicians for expanded cardiac services.

With the expansion, the hospital grew from 258,000 square feet to nearly 400,000 square feet.

The Emergency Department is staffed by 22 board-certified emergency physicians from Emergency Physicians of Indianapolis, several specialty physicians, in-house hospitalists who facilitate patient admissions, and nurses trained in acute care and trauma situations. The department features state-of-the-art equipment and includes 14 treatment rooms, two acute care rooms and a community room for emergency medical services professionals.

Emergency Department physicians and medical staff have access to wireless communication technology and bedside charting for improved caregiver communication and efficiency.

The department also is an access point for St. Francis’ renowned Emergency Heart Attack Response Team (EHART) approach to cardiac care. The more quickly a patient showing signs of a heart attack is admitted into the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab for treatment, the better the chances are for survival. EHART dramatically improves the hospital’s door-to- intervention time, which can mean a significant improvement in heart attack outcomes.

The Emergency Department, located just south of the main hospital entrance, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Monday, September 28, 2009

St. Francis doc answers moms’, daughters’ questions about HPV

PLAINFIELD, Ind. – You’ve probably heard about the vaccine that helps prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) in women. But if you have a young daughter, chances are you have countless questions about HPV and the vaccine.

St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers invites mothers and daughters to get the facts about HPV 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the St. Francis Plainfield Health Center, 315 Dan Jones Road in Plainfield.

April Hoffman, D.O., who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, will lead this candid talk about HPV and cervical cancer. Hoffman will discuss the effectiveness of the vaccine, why and when to vaccinate your daughter and more.

All guests who attend this event will be entered in a drawing for a “coach” bag. Refreshments will be served, and reservations are required.

For more information or to register for this free event, call 317-782-4422 or visit

Friday, September 25, 2009

St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis construction project picks up pace

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is moving ahead again on the construction of an inpatient bed tower at its campus on the far south side of Indianapolis.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce construction is resuming with the St. Francis Hospital Indianapolis campus consolidation project,” said Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer. “Construction had been delayed because of the turbulent economic environment. Though at the time, the delay was disappointing, it was determined that a fiscally conservative approach was most appropriate.

“Today the situation has improved,” Brody added. “After careful and ongoing evaluation of key economic indicators and the financial performance of the hospital, the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Board of Trustees voted to resume the project at full steam ahead. We are most grateful for the board’s confidence and support.”
St. Francis officials last March announced the postponement of the project until there were visible signs of an improved economy.

“Throughout these past long months of unprecedented economic challenges, the dedication, stewardship and loyalty of our St. Francis family has been a guiding and stabilizing influence in our ability to respond positively to the environment while continuing to move our mission forward,” said Chief Operating Officer Keith Jewell, who has been overseeing much of the project since its inception in 2007.
Although considerably slowed, the work never did come to a standstill. In recent months, much of the exterior of the bed tower has been finished and some windows and framing put in place.

Tonn and Blank Construction of Indianapolis and Michigan City is performing the work.

New features and additions included in the consolidation are:
-- 221 inpatient beds in the six-story bed tower (177 medical-surgical, 30 intensive care, 14 observation)
-- New and renovated outpatient surgery area, adding 10 new suites, and a café near the waiting area
-- New and expanded emergency department with 68 treatment rooms, a satellite laboratory, CT scan and ultrasound rooms
-- New pharmacy area and expanded lab services
-- Expanded imaging services
-- Areas for nursing administration, medical staff offices, medical staff library and respiratory therapy
-- New hyberbaric chamber used for wound care
-- New cafeteria
-- New main entrance located on the east side of the facility

More than 1,600 new parking spaces already have been added at the hospital campus.

The consolidation is part of an overall plan to migrate inpatient and other services from St. Francis-Beech Grove to the Indianapolis hospital.

Inpatient services are expected to fully migrate from Beech Grove to Indianapolis by the first quarter of 2012.

Last spring, St. Francis employees inscribed their thoughts, hopes and prayers on the "topping" beam to be placed at the crest of the inpatient bed tower.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

St. Francis-Mooresville, State Farm host car seat safety check, Oct. 3

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville and State Farm Insurance-Martinsville are sponsoring a car seat safety check on Oct. 3.

The event, which is free to the public, is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mike Spencer’s State Farm office, 260 S. Main St., Martinsville.

Protect the little ones you love from injury or death by having them properly secured in a car seat. Inspectors will check all sizes of kids and car seats and have car seats available.

For more information, call State Farm office at 765-342-6807 or the Mooresville hospital’s Cherished Beginnings obstetrics unit at 317-834-5817.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

‘Healing Touch’ extends reach to teach at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Hands-on healing has proven benefits for nurturing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness, but it has to start somewhere.

That’s why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is bringing the nationally recognized Healing Touch program to Mooresville, Oct. 27-28. Training sessions will be held in the St. Francis Conference Room of the Center for Knee and Hip Surgery.

It’s a Level 1 class, providing basic education. There are six levels of Healing Touch certification, the highest being instructor level.

“Participants do not have to be medical professionals, only have the sincere desire to glean the benefits and applications of Healing Touch,” said Kim Bell, manager of the St. Francis Pain Clinic.

Leading the workshop is Deborah Larrimore, a registered nurse and an acclaimed instructor who leads the Healing Touch program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina.

Classes will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the two-day event and, upon successful completion, provides up to 18 continuing education contact hours. Participants also receive a Healing Touch textbook.

St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville is located at 1201 Hadley Road.

For more information or to register (Oct. 16 deadline) for the $350 Healing Touch class, contact Judith Villegas at 317-802-1955, or e-mail her at

More information about the Healing Touch program is at

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

St. Francis Hospital nurse team tops in critical care competition

INDIANAPOLIS – A team of nurses from the St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers swept top honors for the second year in a row at the annual Critical Care Competition.

The team was among a field of eight other similar hospital teams from Indianapolis, and Marion, Shelby and Hendricks counties. It also marked the third time in four years St. Francis has won the competition.

The Sept. 14 contest was sponsored by the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

“This is a Jeopardy-type of competition with categories ranging from basic life support to mass casualties scenarios, and everything in between,” said Trish Wray, critical care unit manager at the Heart Center.

The St. Francis team included registered nurses: Julie Andreis, Jennifer Brower, Joe Fenton, Lisa Rogers, Natalie Zink, and alternates Frank Plettner and Moncy Shirley.

The 2010 competition will be held at St. Francis.

St. Francis operates three full-service hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville. More information about the hospitals is at www.stfrancishospitals.or

And a child shall lead them: St. Francis walk honors memory of lost infants

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers will host its 24th annual Walk to Remember Saturday, Oct. 3.

Hundreds of families from around central Indiana who have lost children through miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death are expected to participate. Family members will read poems about their babies, the reading of their names and a memorial balloon release.

The walk begins at 11 a.m. at St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove (1201 Albany St.) and treks to nearby Sarah T. Bolton Park. Transportation is available for those unable to walk that short distance. A reception for the families will follow the day’s events.

St. Francis representatives also will be on hand to discuss ways to cope with losing a child and to explain the hospital’s Memories to Hold support group for grieving families.

For more information about Walk to Remember, call 317-865-5199.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Low-key martial art class at St. Francis-Mooresville takes aim at arthritis

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Arthritis pain and its effects on mobility can be eased through an ancient Chinese meditative martial art which benefits overall health.

Physical therapy specialists at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville are offering a Tai Chi program beginning Tuesday, Oct. 6. Classes meet from noon to 1 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday at the OB classroom or Swisher Conference Center at the hospital, located at 1201 Hadley Road.

The “sun” style of Tai Chi is designed to improve physical and mental health and includes exercises to improve breathing, relaxation and mobility. It also has found to be effective in improving balance, strength and promotes greater endurance for people with arthritis.

St. Francis fitness specialist Candace Gwin, who is certified by the Arthritis Foundation to teach Tai Chi, will lead the classes.

The cost for the six-week series of classes is $57. For more information or to register, call 317-834-5752.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Interventional pulmonology services offered at St. Francis Lung Cancer Center

INDIANAPOLIS – The St. Francis Lung Cancer Center of Exellence is pleased to offer interventional pulmonology services and capabilities as part of its comprehensive care for lung patients.

Interventional pulmonology is a specialized field of medicine that deals with respiratory diseases such as lung cancer. This branch of medicine uses highly specialized equipment for procedures in which patients are under conscious sedation and local anesthesia.

Among the procedures and technology used to treat patients:

Endobronchial ultrasound for biopsies of lymph nodes and certain lung lesions
Rigid bronchoscopy to diagnose and treat benign and malignant endobronchial lesions while maintaining excellent control of airways Laser and cryotherapy to manage endobronchial lesions Specialized catheterization to help patients with certain malignant excess fluids surrounding the lung

The Lung Cancer Center also welcomes Dr. Ghazwan Acash, M.D. to the physician team. Board-certified in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Acash recently completed an interventional pulmonology fellowship at Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts.

Acash earned his medical degree at Damascus University School of Medicine and completed residencies at Northwestern University (St. Joseph Hospital-Chicago) and the Asthma and Allergy Clinic, Elgin, Ill. He later served as deputy chief of medicine for the residency program at Al-Hada Armed Forces Hospital in Saudi Arabia.

He is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians and the American College of Physicians.

To learn more about the St. Francis Lung Cancer Center of Excellence go to

Remembering 9/11: This Old Glory has special meaning for St. Francis employees

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Under a sun-splashed sky, a hushed crowd of St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers employees gathered around the flagpole near the hospital’s main entrance and watched Old Glory hoisted into the gentle morning breeze.

They were the there to commemorate the tragic events that unfolded eight years ago on Sept. 11 in New York City, the Pentagon and a remote Pennsylvania field. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, nearly 3,000 Americans lay dead.

“I don’t think there is a person here today who does not remember where he or she was that morning,” said Sister Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission services. “We were changed that day. This flag reminds of us of the price our nation pays for defending freedom.”

Indeed, the flag does have special meaning for St. Francis. It most recently flew over Camp Liberty and the Indianapolis-based 55th Medical Company in Iraq. Last month, a member of that unit, Army Staff Sgt. Andrea Cowden, presented the national colors to the hospital while home on leave from her tour of duty as gesture of thanks.

She is the daughter of St. Francis registered dietitian Kathleen Cowden, who along with Senior Promise Director Jim Poole, organized the collection of more than 200 DVD movies for the Army unit.

The flag will also be raised at St. Francis hospitals in Indianapolis and Mooresville at a later date.
After being led in prayer by Chaplain Jim Wetzel, the employees sang the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Many held their hands over the hearts; some saluted. A few wiped away tears.

As the flag was raised to the top, a distant airliner sketched a white contrail against the sky. And a few moments later, the colors were lowered to half staff in remembrance.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Physician opens new practice with Beech Grove Internal Medicine

INDIANAPOLIS – Claudet C. Smith, M.D., a member of St. Francis Medical Group, has joined Beech Grove Internal Medicine.

She comes to St. Francis from Primary Care of Northern Ohio-Community Health Partners. She also was volunteer clinical assistant professor for Sandusky Medical University of Ohio and a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Previously, she was in private practice and affiliated with a hospital-managed practice. Smith also was medical director of Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky, Ohio.

Smith earned her medical degree at The Ohio State University and completed residency training at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where she also served as a chief resident of internal medicine.

Board-certified in internal medicine, Smith is a member of the American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, Lake Erie Women Physicians Association and Sandusky Black Business Women’s Association.

Beech Grove Internal Medicine is located at 2030 Churchman Ave. near St. Francis Hospital-Beech Grove. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 317-781-2100.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Horse show saddles up to support St. Francis Breast Services Program

INDIANAPOLIS – The All American Horse Classic (AAHC) show will hit the trail Sept. 8-12 at the Pepsi Coliseum, and the proceeds from one evening’s event will benefit the St. Francis Breast Services Program.

Sept. 10 has been designated Pink Ribbon Benefit night and proceeds will assist the St. Francis program and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

“This event recognizes some very special women – breast cancer survivors,” said Heidi Dunniway, M.D., a St. Francis affiliated otolaryngologist who is an active horse show exhibitor.

The AAHCshow, which offers free admission, features a variety of American saddlebred horses and ponies. A children’s festival is slated for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.

For more information about Pink Ribbon Benefit night or the show, contact Dr. Heidi Dunniway at 317-882-4288, or visit

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

‘Moonlight Serenade’ in tune with goal of building St. Francis Hospice House

NDIANAPOLIS – Music from the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers and auctions will signal a continued bid for a new facility benefiting end- of-life patients and their families served by St. Francis Hospice.

Moonlight Serenade gets under way 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 10, at Jonathan Byrd’s Banquet and Conference Center, 100 Byrd Way, Greenwood. The event features the IU Singing Hoosiers, a 115-member chorale ensemble who, in the past, have appeared with entertainers such as Bob Hope, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Duke Ellington, and Indiana songwriter and performer Hoagy Carmichael.

Their performance will be preceded by a silent auction, free hors d’ oeuvres, and a live auction hosted by Christy’s of Indiana.

Proceeds from Moonlight Serenade go to the Bridge Campaign initiative, which seeks to construct an inpatient Hospice House facility near St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis on the city’s south side.

The St. Francis Healthcare Foundation is spearheading the Bridge Campaign to build a freestanding 16-suite facility with room for expansion to 32 suites. It also will include gathering and dining areas, landscaping and a chapel. It is estimated that Hospice House will serve more than 800 patients per year.

St. Francis medical professionals will provide 24 hours a day, seven days a week state-of-the-art pain and symptom management including emotional and spiritual support.

For more information about Moonlight Serenade, contact Glenda Dennison at 317-859-2874.