News Center

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

State senator rounds with St. Francis nurses; discusses various health-care issues

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – As the nation continues to grapple with health-care reform– particularly in the wake of Congress’ recent passage of controversial and complex legislation – one of the leading voices in the Indiana Senate shared her ideas and listened to issues of interest to nurses at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

Sen. Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis), who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services in the Indiana General Assembly, today (March 30) rounded with nurses in adult critical care, intensive care, geriatrics and the bone marrow transplantation unit.

A registered nurse who graduated from Methodist Hospital School of Nursing and later Indiana University, Miller listened closely as nurses briefed her and their colleagues on patients’ conditions and treatments. Nurses also explained some of the changes and programs they have been involved in designed to improve patient outcomes and operate more efficiently.

“The entire health care environment continues to change at a rapid pace and you are on the cutting edge of health care,” said Miller, who also serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations and is a member of the Health Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “In fact, you are leading much of that change.”

Following the rounds and inpatient unit visits, the senator sat down with nurse experts from varied specialty areas who shared their nursing experiences – and she explained how they can become even better advocates for their patients.

“It’s critical you let me and others in the legislature know what your concerns are,” Miller said. “You are the experts; you know the issues and you can do much to help us do our jobs as lawmakers.”

Miller, who represents constituents in portions of Marion and Johnson counties, also met with St. Francis’ executive leadership, including Chief Operating Officer Keith Jewell, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alan Gillespie, Chief Nursing Officer Susan McRoberts and Sister Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission integration at St. Francis.

The senator’s visit was organized by St. Francis nurses Judith Young and Kathleen Holmes.

St. Francis Cancer Services offers free skin cancer screeings in May

INDIANAPOLIS – Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, but it’s one of most treatable forms of cancer if caught in time, says the National Cancer Institute.

That’s why St. Francis Cancer Services is offering free screenings at two locations. The first session will be 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 1, at the St. Francis Cancer Center, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.

Another screening is on tap 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, May 6, at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, 1215 Hadley Rd., Suite 105.

Some people may be at higher risk than others and having one or more of the following risk factors could increase your risk for developing skin cancer, St. Francis cancer experts say:

Sun sensitivity (skin that burns easily, natural blonde/blond or red hair color)
Spending a great deal of time in the sun, especially during childhood
A family history of certain types of skin cancer
A weak immune system for any reason
The appearance of moles

Additionally, doing a simple self exam of your skin takes only a few minutes and can be an easy way to detect potential problems since most cancers occur on the skin surface. Look for changes in the size, color, texture or shape of a mole or dark spot. Check for the appearance of any unusual bumps or growths on face, ears, arms, chest and back.

Space is limited for the screenings. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 317-782-4422.

For more information about St. Francis Care Services, go to for more information.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Prestigious study ranks St. Francis-Indianapolis among nation’s ‘100 Top Hospitals’

INDIANAPOLIS – The Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals® National Benchmarks study has rated St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis highly for its overall organization performance for 2009.

The study, which has been conducted annually since 1993, evaluates performance in 10 areas: mortality, medical complications, patient safety, average length of stay, expenses, profitability, patient satisfaction, adherence to clinical standards of care, and post-discharge mortality and readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia.

This marked the second straight year St. Francis made the Thomson Reuters list.

“We are continually looking at ways to improve our performance to better serve our patients at all of our hospitals,” said Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer. “We’re honored to be recognized by Thomson Reuters.”

St. Francis, which also operates hospitals in Beech Grove and Mooresville, was one of only five hospitals in Indiana recognized in the study.

“This year’s study magnified the value that 100 Top Hospital award winners provide to their communities. Even during the economic downturn, the 100 Top Hospitals maintained a profit from operations while raising the bar for clinical quality and patient satisfaction,” said Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement and 100 Top Hospitals programs at Thomson Reuters. “The insistence of these hospitals’ leaders — their boards, executive teams and medical staffs — on overall excellence makes the difference.”

To conduct the 100 Top Hospitals study, Thomson Reuters researchers evaluated 2,926 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals. They used public information — Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, and core measures and patient satisfaction data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare data set.

According to the study, if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in these 100 Top Hospitals award winners:

More than 98,000 additional patients would survive each year
More than 197,000 patient complications would be avoided annually.
Expenses would decline by an aggregate $5.5 billion a year
The average patient stay would decrease by nearly half a day.
If the same standards were applied to all inpatients, the impact would be even greater.

To learn more about the study and to see the 100 Top Hospitals, go to

Friday, March 26, 2010

St. Francis Hospital selects new director of product, business development

INDIANAPOLIS – Jason B. Middleton has been appointed director of product and business development for St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

In that role, he oversees the creation of new products and services to offer to physician practices and also oversees the Physician Office Navigator Department.

Middleton previously was senior practice manager at Solutions Healthcare Management, where he provided managerial and consulting services for practice managers on operational and financial issues related to St. Francis Medical Group. He also was employed by WellPoint, Inc. in Lousiville, Ky.

A resident of Noblesville, he earned a master’s in health administration at Indiana University and received his undergraduate degree in industrial management at Purdue University.

St. Francis honors organ donors; supports public awareness program

INDIANAPOLIS – Five years ago, Diana Robinson received a gift that will last her a lifetime – a liver from an anonymous donor.

When learning she would need a transplant, Robinson was placed on a waiting list, After several tense months, she received the call that would save her life.

“Getting placed on the transplant waiting list isn’t easy and it’s hard while you wait,” said Robinson, a surgical unit secretary at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis. “But considering how I feel today and understanding why my life was saved, makes those things seem insignificant.”

Robinson is one of many whose lives have been saved or affected by organ donations. And for this reason, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is joining with Donate Life Indiana throughout April in observance of National Donate Life Month. The month is set aside to increase awareness about organ donation and to honor organ, tissue, and eye donors.

St. Francis hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville will fly the Donate Life Flag throughout the month.

Indiana has responded to the need for organ donations. In 2009, 145 Hoosiers were donors. But the need continues to surge: an estimated 1,200 people in Indiana are on waiting lists to receive a life-saving transplant, Donate Life Indiana reports.

Annually, about 30,000 Americans’ lives are saved through organ donations. But the waiting list for patients continues to grow, according to Donate Life Indiana. Nationally, more than 101,000 are awaiting organs or tissue; nearly 1,100 of those people reside in Indiana.

“I’ve been blessed and I am thankful everyday – not just some days,” Robinson said. “The gift I received is so very precious. I will celebrate the fifth anniversary of my transplant on April 1 this year.”

To learn more about donation or to register to become a donor, people are encouraged to go to

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New director signs aboard Employer Health Solutions

INDIANAPOLIS – Joe Sagorsky has been appointed director of Employer Health Solutions. Sagorsky oversees programs linking employers with St. Francis Health Network, which offers a variety of services to improve health plan performance and reduce medical costs.

The Chicago native comes to the new role with wide experience. His previously served as director of marketing and business development for the Indiana Heart Physicians, where he was responsible for strategic planning, physician and customer relations, and developing business opportunities. IHP became part of St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers in 2009.

Sagorsky began his career at St. Francis in 1987 as a coordinator and later manager of the hospital’s employee and community health promotion program.

A former elementary school teacher in Illinois, he also worked as an account executive for Johnson Controls in its health-care solutions consulting division.

Sagorsky, a resident of Greenwood, received a master’s degree in health promotion and exercise physiology from Purdue University and his undergraduate teaching degree from MacMurray College in Illinois.

He is active in the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, Advisory Board for the Partnership for Healthier Johnson County and the Center Grove High School Athletic Booster Club.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Students get up-front view of careers in medicine at St. Francis-Mooresville

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Nearly 100 students from North Madison Elementary School in Camby today (March 24) had a behind-the-scenes look at the myriad career opportunities in medicine.

The sixth-graders toured St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville and met with staff, discussing a variety of health topics and learning the responsibilities of nurses and other specialty areas.
The youngsters also participated in hands-on demonstrations at various learning stations, including blood checks and the proper hand-washing techniques used by medical staff.

The annual event is organized by clinical educator Cheryl Howard, R.N.
David Worthman, certified surgical technology demonstrates to North Madison students some of the tools used in surgical procedures at St. Francis-Mooresville.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

St. Francis cardiologist discusses congestive heart failure

INDIANAPOLIS – Congestive heart failure affects nearly five million Americans, and it is the most common reason for hospital admission for those older than 65. Without proper treatment and significant lifestyle changes, patients with the condition are hospitalized more frequently and experience a rapidly diminished quality of life.

Polly Moore, M.D., a cardiologist for St. Francis Heart Center, will share what patients need to know about monitoring CHF and when to seek medical help at a class, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 24, at the Heart Center’s Community Center, located on the St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis campus, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.

“Studies have shown that educating patients about their heart conditions improves their quality of life, reduces the need for subsequent hospitalizations and ultimately improves their long-term outlook,” said Moore.

CHF doesn’t mean the heart has stopped working. It means that the heart muscle has become weak and is unable to pump blood adequately to meet the body’s demands. As a result, patients experience fatigue, shortness of breath, along with ankle and leg swelling and abdominal bloating because the heart is unable to pump away excess fluid in the body.

Ninety percent of the CHF patients who are admitted to the hospital are suffering from fluid overload or congestion.

Several conditions can cause CHF, the most common of which include a prior heart attack, high blood pressure (this is the most common cause in women) and occasionally a specific viral infection.

To register for the class, call 317-782-4422 or go to

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Francis Tai Chi class has all the right moves for health, well-being

INDIANAPOLIS – The ancient martial art of Tai Chi uses slow and gentle movements and its practice is known to have myriad health benefits.

That’s why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is offering an introductory course, meeting each Monday beginning April 5 and ending May 10. The class, which is from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., is at 3131 E. Thompson Road at Carson Square Mall.

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.

“With Tai Chi, you’re always moving, but always under complete control,” said Michele Wood, R.N., who is coordinating the class. “A participant’s internal energy circulation actually helps prevent disease and debility.”

Cost of the class is $30 and payable at time of registration. For more information, contact Wood at 317-865-5864, or at

St. Francis Hospital nurses hold certifications in various specialties

INDIANAPOLIS – Certified Nurses Day™ -- March 19 – is a special day of recognition to celebrate the contributions of board-certified nurses to the advancement of the nursing profession. And St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has many such nurses on staff.

“This day acknowledges certified nurses’ commitment to high standards and excellent outcomes for patient health,” said Susan McRoberts, St. Francis’ chief nursing officer and vice president. “We commend them for their professionalism, excellence and service they deliver every day.”

Nearly 270 St. Francis nurses are certified in specialty areas such as: oncology, surgery, bone marrow transplant, geriatrics, post-anesthesia, orthopedics, dialysis, intensive care, weight loss, nursing services, wound care, educational services, emergency medicine, palliative and hospice care, quality, occupational health, critical care, cardiac, pediatrics, neonatal care, labor and delivery and administration.

“Nursing is more than a career,” McRoberts said. “For us, it is a ministry, and we’re proud so many have answered the call by choosing St. Francis as their professional home.”

St. Francis has 1,450 nurses at its hospital campuses at Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville.

Certified Nurses Day was originated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and is supported by several professional nurse advocacy organizations.

St. Francis offers comprehensive services to patients with diabetes

INDIANAPOLIS – The St. Francis Diabetes Education Program consists of a team of educators who specialize in meeting the needs of people with diabetes and their families.

The program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association for providing quality diabetes education and for meeting the Standards for Diabetes Patient Education.

"The programs offer more than just the technical aspects of diabetes management," said Amy Kotansky, diabetes nutritionist. "Key components of the program focus on developing strategies for the psychosocial aspects of living with diabetes and achieving goals through behavior modification."

Classes and individual instruction are offered at various locations, including the Diabetes & Endocrinology Center near St. Francis-Indianapolis (8111 S. Emerson Ave.), the St. Francis Education Center (5935 S. Emerson Ave.), and St. Francis-Mooresville (1201 Hadley Road.

Program offerings include:

· Diabetes Education for Life Program
· Self-Management Series
· Senior Self-Management
· Insulin Pump Program
· Medical Nutrition Therapy
· Gestational Counseling
· Preconception Care for Women with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
· Insulin Administration
· Blood Glucose Monitoring
· Pre-Diabetes Program
· Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
· Byetta Instruction
· Symlin Instruction
· Diabetes Support Group

To learn more about services offered by the St. Francis Diabetes & Encocrinology Center, go to

Monday, March 15, 2010

Joint replacement surgery group joins forces with St. Francis Hospital

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – After more than 10 years of professional collaboration, Joint Replacement Surgeons of Indiana (JSRI), a leading internationally recognized orthopedics practice, and St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers will fully integrate, effective today (March 15).

JRSI will operate under the name St. Francis Medical Group-Joint Replacement Surgeons from offices on the campus of St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville and on the north side of Indianapolis.

“Through this integration, St. Francis and this orthopedic surgery group will continue the high quality service patients have come to expect while also investing resources in applying the science and research that is transforming the delivery of orthopedic care,” said Robert J. Brody, St. Francis president and chief executive officer.

“This integration is a natural extension of our long relationship with St. Francis as partners in the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery at St. Francis Hospital–Mooresville,” said orthopedic surgeon John B. Meding, M.D. “Throughout our association, St. Francis Hospital and our practice have shared a patient-focused mission and a dedication to delivering only the highest level of orthopedic care — from prevention and treatment to research and education.”

St. Francis Medical Group (SFMG) is an association of 120 physicians who have partnered with St. Francis Hospital to provide high quality medical care to the residents of Indianapolis and south-central Indiana.

“Fully integrating our organizations provides additional support and resources to advance our commitment to offer the best medical care – in this case world-class orthopedic treatment – to Indiana and surrounding states,” said SFMG President Glenn Loomis, M.D.

JRSI orthopedic surgeon Merrill A. Ritter, M.D., founded the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery in 1986 at what was then Kendrick Memorial Hospital in Mooresville. It was the first center in Indiana to specialize in joint replacement surgery. St. Francis acquired the Kendrick hospital in 2000 and has continued that partnership with JRSI, culminating in today’s formal integration.

The center performs nearly 2,000 joint replacements each year and is recognized as a leader in joint replacement surgery, treating patients from all over Indiana, the Midwest and the nation.

It is ranked No. 1 in Indiana for joint surgery for the fourth year in a row by HealthGrades, the leading health care ratings service. HealthGrades reviews more than 5,000 hospitals throughout the United States and ranks those medical facilities using Medicare data and quality measures, such as complication rates.

The center also is ranked in the top 5 percent in the nation for joint surgery and has been a 5-star rated hospital for joint care for the past eight consecutive years.

Its surgeons have instructed hundreds of surgeons from around the world in the latest techniques and methods for joint implants.

To learn more about the center, go to and click on the link for the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery on the home page.

More information about St. Francis Medical Group can be found at

Friday, March 12, 2010

Knee replacement surgery puts patient back on playing fields

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Bev Thomas lay awake in bed, watching the clock, counting the minutes until she could take her third dose of 800 mg ibuprofen for the day. To pass time and help relieve her severe knee pain, she grabbed an ice pack and returned to bed, desperately seeking relief.

The daily pattern of interrupted, restless sleep grew increasingly bothersome for this night-shift nurse who works in the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville. Every step sent a shock of pain. Her feet were forced into flat shoes stuffed with orthotic inserts.

Her athletic body, now inactive, had packed on pounds. And her garden suffered from lack of tending.

“I am at my best when I can be moving,” said the 55-year-old Thomas, who had always enjoyed dancing, running, walking, gardening and playing competitive volleyball and co-ed softball.

For four years, she lived with severe and worsening pain in both knees. Cortisone injections, physical therapy and medication failed to relieve the pain she felt from arthritis and long-term athletic stress. Pain had dramatically altered her life. It was time for knee replacement surgery.

The decision was an easy one, Thomas recalls, because she knew her quality of life could only improve after surgery. Besides, this sports enthusiast wasn’t about to lead a sedentary life.

In mid-August 2009, Michael Berend, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery, performed unicompartmental (partial) knee replacement on her left knee, the worse of the two. Six weeks later, he performed the same surgery on her right knee.

With this minimally invasive procedure, only the most damaged cartilage in the knee — not the entire joint — is removed.

“Total knee replacement was not necessary,” said Berend, “because her severe bone-on-bone arthritis was confined to one compartment of the knee, which occurs in up to a third of arthritic knees.”

Her left knee healed without complication. Her right experienced swelling, minor stiffness, more pain and less range of motion than the left at first, but after physical therapy, healed well and provided the same pain relief and increased mobility as the left.

“It just rocked!” Thomas said. “There is a difference of night and day.”

Three months after surgery, she returned to work. Co-workers commented on her noticeably smoother stride. Her once wobbly walk had gone.

The center performs nearly 2,000 joint replacements each year and is recognized as a leader in joint replacement surgery, treating patients from all over Indiana, the Midwest and the nation.

It is ranked No. 1 in Indiana for joint surgery for the fourth year in a row by HealthGrades, the leading health care ratings service. HealthGrades reviews more than 5,000 hospitals throughout the United States and ranks those medical facilities using Medicare data and quality measures, such as complication rates.

To learn more about the center, go to and click on the link for the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery on the home page.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

St. Francis’ got a brand new brown bag event to evaluate medications

MOORESVILLE -- The Senior Promise program Pharmacy Department and St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is sponsoring a “Brown Bag” event, Thursday, April 8.

The program is a service where the public can bring in their prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements and put them into a big brown bag (actually any bag will do) and bring them in for a pharmacist to review with you.

St. Francis registered pharmacists will be on hand to discuss with visitors various aspects of the medications they are taking. After the review, individuals receive a report, with recommendations, to share with their primary care physicians.

Participants should bring all of their items in containers to receive a thorough and accurate assessment.

The event is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Swisher Conference Room, St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, 1201 Hadley Road.

Reservations are required to attend the event. Call 317-782-6660.

The Senior Promise program at St. Francis offers myriad programs and benefits to its 10,000 members in south-central Indiana. To learn more go to

Ortho surgeon explains joint replacement therapies April 28

BLOOMINGTON, 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, April 28, at the Bloomington–Monroe County Convention Center, 302 S. College Ave. In the spotlight is a hip and knee replacement seminar. A light buffet will be served at 6 p.m.

John B. Meding, 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.

Meding is a surgeon with the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville.
The Center has been ranked No. 1 in Indiana for joint surgery four 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

Monday, March 8, 2010

Surgeon discusses ways to diagnose, treat colorectal cancer at free seminar

INDIANAPOLIS – What are the risk factors and ways to diagnose and treat colorectal cancer? The public can find those and other answers at “March Gladness…Happy to be Cancer Free” Tuesday, March 23, at North United Methodist Church,
Dipen Maun, M.D., a colorectal cancer surgeon/specialist with Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, will discuss symptoms, risk factors, screening tests, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer.

Maun last year became the first surgeon in Indiana to use the da Vinci™ Surgical System to remove cancerous tissue from a patient’s lower rectum. Traditionally, such operations have been invasive.

A light dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., followed by the presentation at 6 p.m. Ample time will be provided for participants’ questions and discussion.

This free program, which is open to the public, is sponsored by the Central Indiana Colorectal Cancer Awareness Network with support from the Indiana Cancer Consortium.

North United Methodist Church is at 3808 N. Meridian St.

Space is limited and reservations are required by calling 317-344-7800.

To learn more about the Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care go to More information about services provided at the St. Francis Cancer Center is at

St. Francis ER selected nationally to test ways to reduce overcrowding

INDIANAPOLIS – As hospital emergency rooms across the nation strive to operate more efficiently and effectively to reduce overcrowding and related issues, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is one of six hand-selected hospitals to participate in a program designed enhance its overall performance.

The ER department at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis has implemented Urgent Matters, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded learning network. “Team ER,” as the department has dubbed itself, is developing ways to work collaboratively, devise performance measures, assess existing operation and develop strategies to improve ER operations.

“Emergency room crowding is a well known and critical issue hospitals need to understand and address with the goal of providing the best possible care to the patients in their communities,” said Jason Kaufman, R.N., director of Emergency Services for St. Francis’ hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville. “Overcrowding is not just an emergency room problem – it’s a challenge to all hospitals with ERs.”

As part of Urgent Matters, St. Francis has established a standardized triage process (evaluation of incoming patients’ conditions) and is working to educate and train emergency staff on new polices and procedures, designed collaboratively by staff and tested using rapid cycle change processes. This collaborative approach led to the development of informal leaders and improved communication between the emergency and other hospital departments.

Patty Heffner, R.N., ER manager and Urgent Matters project leader at St. Francis-Indianapolis, says the improved communications as one of the most successful outcomes and that the hospital plans to use the Urgent Matters structure in other quality improvement projects.

“The St. Francis team is addressing the sustainability of the Urgent Matters project by creating an ER workgroup to monitor and improve triage processes, and develop a training program for the new patient intake policies and processes,” Heffner said.

Patient volumes at St. Francis emergency rooms have been steadily on the increase. In 2009, the Indianapolis campus saw 41,000 patients; Beech Grove, 42,000, and the recently opened Mooresville ER had 5,000 visits.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that from 1996 to 2006, the number of annual ER visits grew from 90.3 million to 119.2 million nationally. Meanwhile, the number of hospitals with ERs has fallen from 5,000 to 4,000 during that period.

Other hospitals participating in Urgent Matters: Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center and Stony Brook University Medical Center (both of New York), Hahnemann University Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Westmoreland Regional Hospital (all of Pennsylvania).

St. Francis-Indianapolis and these hospitals are collaborating through a network structure to test new ideas, quantify results and share lessons they have learned. Program successes will be shared nationally that can be adopted at other hospitals.

Friday, March 5, 2010

St. Francis surgeon, volunteers honored as ‘Heroes’ by business magazine

INDIANAPOLIS – A St. Francis cardiothoracic surgeon who pioneered the use of new technology to repair inner heart tissue and 10 volunteers who help families that have lost babies have been singled out by the Indianapolis Business Journal as "Health Care Heroes."
That recognition came today (March 5) at a ceremony/breakfast at the Conrad Indianapolis sponsored by IBJ.

Marc Gerdisch, M.D., was the winner in the Advancements in Health Category. He was cited for his work, advancing heart valve surgery through the use of Extracellular Matrix to modify and repair cardiac structures. The CorMatrix ECM is a unique biomaterial that harnesses the body’s innate ability to repair damaged heart tissue. Over time, it is replaced by the patients’ own tissue.

Gerdisch was the first in the world to perform procedures using the ECM inside the human heart. He is director of cardiothoracic surgery at the St. Francis Heart Center, a partner at Cardiac Surgery Associates, and co-director of the St. Francis Heart Valve Center.

Volunteers for the St. Francis Caring Companions program also were selected as finalists in the Volunteer category. They are: Anna Schmitt, Becky Cassenelli, Marian Diaz-Soto, Linzi Horsley, Christine Davis, Shalome Frye, Melanie Collings, Mary Mouradian, Teresa Kirchoff and Julie Jackson.

The purpose of Caring Companions is to support families at the time of miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death. After becoming trained as certified Resolve Through Sharing caregivers, the women operate on 24-hour call schedule. When they are notified of an infant’s death, one or two Companions arrive at the hospital to provide support to the families sharing with them their own experiences of loss and hope.

The volunteers also help coordinate events that are so important to the ongoing healing process, such as Walk to Remember, Christmas Memorial, Infant Memorial service and Parents' Day.

This year’s recipients join other St. Francis-affiliated employees and programs recognized in the past as IBJ Health Care Heroes:

To learn more about Gerdisch’s work visit More information about St. Francis Caring Companions is at


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

St. Francis Hospital selects new disaster management coordinator

INDIANAPOLIS – Susan Perkins, R.N., has been appointed disaster management coordinator at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

In her new role, Perkins serves as liaison with St. Francis emergency room personnel, physicians, security and other departments in planning for and responding to disasters. She has previously worked at the hospital in emergency room services.

Perkins has an extensive background in public safety and health issues. She’s been affiliated with the Indiana Trauma System Advisory Task Force, Indiana Trauma Network, Indiana State Department of Health Injury Prevention Advisory Council, Indiana Emergency Nurses Association, various state and national trauma systems and Emergency Medical Services committees.

She earned her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Indianapolis. Perkins holds membership with the America Trauma Society, Emergency Nurses Association, and the Association of Clinical Research Professionals.

Annual Docs vs. Jocks showdown takes aim at drug abuse awareness

INDIANAPOLIS – Former Indiana Pacers star Rik Smits and a local radio personality Jimmy “Mad Dog” Matis will be on hand for the annual Docs vs. Jocks vs. Drugs charity basketball game at Roncalli High School, Friday, April 16.

This marks the 24TH year St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has sponsored the event, which raises funds and educates youth about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco use. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Roncalli’s substance abuse awareness and tobacco-cessation programs.

The action gets under way at 7 p.m. at the high school gymnasium, pitting St. Francis physicians against Roncalli High School faculty and staff. Pacers mascot Boomer also will be on hand prior to tipoff and throughout the game.

This meeting is pivotal: St. Francis and Roncalli have met on two other occasions with each squad having a win.

The 7-foot-4-inch center averaged nearly 15 points and more than six rebounds a game during his NBA career. Matis is known locally for his 23-year career at WFBQ-FM 94.7 on the Bob and Tom Show, and his sports news updates on sister station WNDE-AM 1260.

Both will be available for autographs and entertainment includes Pacers mascot “Boomer” and music from Roncalli’s pep band and show choir.

Tickets are $5 per person and are available at Roncalli and at the gym door the night of the event. Children 6years old and younger will be admitted free.

Roncalli High School is located at 3300 Prague Road.

The annual game has visited high school courts all over south-central Indiana, raising students’ awareness of the dangers of drug use and abuse. The program has raised more than $110,000 since its inception.

Donald J. Kerner, M.D., former chief medical officer at St. Francis, is the driving force behind Docs vs. Jocks vs. Drugs. He was awarded the 2004 Hulman Award for founding the annual event.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Measuring Spirit of Women’s Day of Dance success: 1,000 busy feet

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – While some moms shared the experience with their daughters, others made it a girls’ day out and some came alone.

Whatever their motivations, 500 participants learned the latest dance moves and embraced new ways to get heart-healthy during St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers’ seventh annual Spirit of Women Day of Dance.

Participants learned different types of dance such as hip-hop dance, courtesy of Adrienne McDade forDance Rhythms Ltd., salsa, IntoSalsa and short routines from the Indiana Pacemates. Participants also had the options of Tai Chi, Zumba and Nia.

Nikki Reed, traffic reporter for WIBC-93.1 FM, emceed the event and introduced dance instructors throughout the day. The Feb. 27 program, sponsored by St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers, was at the Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center in Beech Grove.

Although the event, which promotes exercise and healthy living, was targeted to women, men also came to join in on the fun. Along with the dancing, free screenings such as cholesterol and blood pressure were offered by St. Francis Heart Center.

“It's going to be tough to plan a bigger and better event,” said Michele Wood, manager of St. Francis’ Spirit of Women program. “It was a spectacular day of dancing, laugher, friendship and fun all in the pursuit of better health and vitality.”

More than 70 hospitals across the country sponsored Day of Dance in February as part of Spirit of Women, an elite network of hospitals nationwide committed to caring for women. The goal of the event is to offer an exciting and interactive way to get people moving through exercise that is creative, expressive and fun.

2011 Day of Dance is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011

New IT system bolsters St. Francis’ patient care delivery, processes

INDIANAPOLIS – New health information technology acquired by the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. will strengthen the hospital system’s processes related to patient care and clinical administration.

SSFHS has selected EpicCare, a comprehensive, integrated suite of applications produced by the Wisconsin-based Epic Systems Corp. Among the hospitals affected: St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers (Indianapolis, Beech Grove, Mooresville), St. Anthony Medical Center (Crown Point), St. Anthony Memorial Health Centers (Michigan City), St. Clare Medical Center (Crawfordsville), St. Elizabeth Regional Health (Lafayette), St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers (Hammond and Dyer), and St. James Hospital and Health Centers (Olympia Fields and Chicago Heights, Ill.)

“Several factors went into this decision,” said Robert J. Brody, St. Francis president and chief executive officer. “Health care in the United States is rapidly changing to a system where care providers will be required to produce much higher quality outcomes using fewer resources, and where collaboration is vital in providing top-notch, efficient patient services.”

Among the areas where the EpicCare computer technology will be integrated:

Patient medical records
Medication administration, pharmacy tracking
Operating room/surgery management
Alverno Clinical Labs
Medical imaging
Emergency room documentation and patient tracking
Cardiology and anesthesia
Physician order
Hospital scheduling, registration and billing

Other services such as oncology, ophthalmology, ambulatory pharmacy and home health programs are cheduled to be phased in at a later time.

Headquartered in Mishawaka, Ind., the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services is a network of 13 growing hospital campuses in Indiana and Illinois and is one of the largest health-care systems in the state.

The system’s health-care ministry in Indiana was established in 1875 and today employs more than 18,000 individuals in its health-care ministries. More information about SSFHS is at