News Center

Friday, October 29, 2010

Several St. Francis physicians featured among Indy magazine’s ‘Top Doctors’ list

INDIANAPOLIS – Twenty-seven St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers employed or affiliated physicians have been honored as “Top Doctors” by Indianapolis Monthly magazine (November issue).
They were among those selected by nationwide surveys of tens of thousands of physicians conducted by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., representing the upper tier of board-certified physicians in the Indianapolis area.
“The company’s research team follows a rigorous screening process to select doctors on both the national and regional levels,” magazine editors wrote. “Through mail, telephone surveys, in addition to electronic ballots, they asked physicians and the medical leadership of leading hospitals to identify highly skilled exceptional doctors.”

Members of St. Francis Medical Group (indicated) and hospital-affiliated physicians and their specialties:
William Berg, M.D. – Interventional cardiology (SFMG)
Richard Shea, M.D. – Cardiovascular disease (SFMG)
Sumeet Bhatia, M.D. – Medical oncology
Frederick Lane, M.D.Colon/rectal surgery
Olaf Johansen, M.D. – Colon/rectal surgery
Barbara Sturm, M.D. – Dermatology
Ana Priscu, M.D. – Endocrinology/diabetes/metabolism (SFMG)
Richard Beardsley, M.D. – Family medicine (SFMG)
Michael Elmore, M.D. – Gastroenterology
David Pound, M.D. – Gastroenterology
David Moore, M.D. – Gynecologic oncology (SFMG)
Mary Lou Mayer, M.D. -- Medical oncology
Wendy Kindig, M.D. – Nephrology
G. Alan Von Stein M.D.  – Obstetrics and gynecology
Jeffery Pierson, M.D. – Orthopedic surgery (SFMG)
Thomas Fairchild, M.D. – Otolaryngology
Dan Nordmann, M.D. – Pain medicine (SFMG)
Baron Kidd, M.D. – Pediatrics
Charles Kinsella, M.D. – Pulmonary disease
Denise Johnson Miller, M.D. – Surgery (SFMG)
Erica Eugster, M.D. – Pediatric endocrinology
William L. Gentry, MD – Reproductive endocrinology
Marc Gerdisch M.D. – Thoracic surgery
Martin Kaefer, M.D. – Pediatric urology
Dawn Salvatore, M.D. – Vascular surgery (SFMG)

In addition to his “Top Doctors” listing,” Nordmann, medical director for St. Francis Medical Group Spine Specialists, discusses in a related article how a team approach helped diagnose and treat a patient with puzzling symptoms.

Don McMahon, M.D., of St. Francis Medical Group Kendrick Family Medicine, also was profiled along with other physicians about their interests and hobbies outside of medicine. McMahon’s an Elvis impersonator, which he jokingly diagnoses as a “chronic infection.”
St. Francis Medical Group is comprised of about 130 physicians offering a variety of primary care and specialty care services at St. Francis’ hospitals at Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville.
To learn more about St. Francis Medical Group, visit

St. Francis ortho surgeon explains joint replacement therapies Nov. 10

PLAINFIELD, 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 at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10, at Primo West, 2353 E. Perry Road, Plainfield. In the spotlight is a hip and knee replacement seminar.

Philip Faris, 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.

Faris is a surgeon with Joint Replacement Surgeons, a practice group affiliated with the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville.

The Center has been ranked No. 1 in Indiana for joint surgery five 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. A light buffet will be served, beginning at 6 p.m.

More information about the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery is at

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Volunteers go the distance to make Indianapolis Monumental Marathon a success

INDIANAPOLIS – It take an all-hands effort to ensure an estimated 16,000 running feet get off on the right foot for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

“It never ceases to amaze me how volunteers so generously donate their time and talents in so many ways,” said IMM Executive Director Julie Patterson. “We could not pull this event off without the help of the community and volunteers from St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.”

By the time the estimated 8,000 participants – a record number that is expected to grow by the Saturday, Nov. 6 race – about 800 volunteers will have either been working behind the scenes before and during the event to ensure smooth sailing.

Rob Thornburg, a member of IMM’s board of directors, along with Christa Petzke and Chris Gale, oversee a wide range of activities of its 650 volunteers, including registration and packets, set-up crews, start and finish line assistance, course marshals, gear checks, water stations and featured entertainment.

To learn how to become an IMM volunteer, go

St. Francis, which continues in its role as title sponsor of the IMM, also will have a strong presence. Dr. Jeff Peterson, a sports medicine and family medicine physician, heads a medical team ready to assist runners along the course and other sites.

“We have about 100 physicians, nurses, physical therapists and trainers – many of them affiliated with St. Francis Sports Medicine – in the triage area and at the finish line,” said LeeAnn Abercrombie-Logan, marketing manager who coordinates all aspects of St. Francis’ participation.

Another 40-plus St. Francis volunteers are tapped to work in runners’ packet pick-area, water stations and other related activities. They also assist at the Expo the day before the race, featuring running gear and shoes, as well as the latest developments in sports, fitness and nutrition. Experts from St. Francis Sports Medicine team will be on-hand to offer last minute tips and answer any questions runners and walkers may have.

Runners from 47 states have registered , and so have participants from Australian, Brazil, Ecuador, Kenya, the Philippines, United Kingdom and Venezuela.

The race features a full marathon (26.2 miles) a half marathon (13.1 miles). An inaugural 5K run – sponsored by local engineering architectural firm HNTB – also is on tap.

All courses begin near Washington and West streets and finish on Robert D. Orr Drive to the finish line, just steps away from the Indiana State Capitol building.

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 2011 Boston Marathon.

To register for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, go to

More information about St. Francis Sports Medicine is at

Monday, October 25, 2010

And the beat goes on: Cardiac docs discuss treatments for irregular heart rhythm

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 2.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (Afib), a serious heart rhythm problem that can lead to heart failure and stroke.

Physicians with the St. Francis Heart Center will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis and the latest treatments of Afib at an upcoming workshop, 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 13. The free event, which includes breakfast will be in Classrooms 1 and 2 at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, 8111 S. Emerson Ave.

Cardiologist John “Trey” Moore III and cardiothoracic surgeon Marc Gerdisch, M.D. have successfully treated patients with Afib through minimally invasive surgical and non-surgical procedures.

Participants will learn about new treatment options and the risks of Afib, which, according to some estimates. contributes to 70,000 strokes annually.

Moore, a member of Indiana Heart Physicians at St. Francis, is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He specializes in clinical cardiac electrophysiology.

Gerdisch, director of cardiothoracic surgery at St. Francis, made headlines last July when it was announced he was the first in the world to use CorMatrix Extracellular Matrix (ECM)™ to modify and repair cardiac structures, allowing heart tissue to re-grow inside the beating hearts of heart surgery patients. To learn more about Gerdisch’s work with ECM go to

Registration is required to attend. Call 317-782-4422.

To learn more about the cardiac services at St. Francis, go to

New director assumes helm of St. Francis Perioperative Services

INDIANAPOLIS – Rhonda L. Anders, R.N., has been appointed director of Perioperative Services for St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers’ Indianapolis and Beech Grove campuses.

A board-certified nurse executive, Anders comes to the position after serving the last three years as director of Medical Surgical Nursing at St. Francis. Prior to that she was manager of cardiovascular operating rooms.

Anders serves on the National Board of Directors for the Association of Operating Room Nurses and has held several top leadership positions with that organization in the Indianapolis area. She has given several presentations focused on surgical nursing and has written on the subject for professional journals.

Anders, who carries Certified Nurse Operating Room credentials earned a master of science in management from Indiana Wesleyan University and bachelor of science in nursing at Indiana University.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

St. Francis Hospital nurses recognized for compassionate care they provide

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has two nurses whose acts of professionalism and compassion have sewn seeds of gratitude among their patients and colleagues.

And that’s why registered nurses Stephanie Xayamath and Tammi Baldwin have been named the latest recipients of the hospital’s DAISY Awards. The awards are part of The DAISY Foundation, a nationwide program recognizing nurses.

Xayamath, who works in the intensive care unit at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, was nominated by the daughter of a patient. The daughter said her dying mother’s every need was poignantly met by Xayamath. The family also was concerned that a sibling who was en route by airliner would not be able to speak with the mother a final time.

“She made the call to the airline and explained the situation,” the daughter said, adding that the message was relayed to the flight crew, which ushered the passenger off of the plan immediately after it taxied to the gate. “Our sister did make it to see my mother alive and say goodbye.”

Baldwin, an emergency room nurse at St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis, was nominated by a colleague in her department. She credited Baldwin with being an exceptional nurse and leader, whose nonjudgmental nature and “tender care” is applied to patients and co-workers alike. She said Baldwin has encouraged several to pursue advanced education and certifications.

“She believes in all of us, and she never gives up on us or patients,” the colleague wrote.

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is a national program that honors the compassionate care and clinical excellence that our St. Francis nurses bring to their patients every day.

The DAISY Award was established by the DAISY Foundation in memory of J. Patrick Barnes who died at 33 an auto-immune disease. His family was so impressed by the clinical skills, caring and compassion of the nurses who cared for him that they created this national award to say “thank you” to nurses everywhere. For more information, go to

To learn more about nursing careers and programs at St. Francis, go to

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

St. Francis earns No. 1 state ranking; rates high nationally for joint replacement care

Patient experiences also receive stellar ratings: HealthGrades 2010 report

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers announced today (Oct. 20) that its Mooresville, Beech Grove and Indianapolis hospitals have received five-star ratings for their joint replacement programs and top marks from patients they serve.

That’s the assessment of an extensive study conducted by HealthGrades, one of the nation’s leading health care rating companies. The HealthGrades study annually assesses patient outcomes – mortality and complication rates – at virtually all of the nation’s nearly 5,000 non-federal hospitals.

St. Francis-Mooresville’s Center for Hip & Knee Surgery was ranked No. 1 in the state for total joint replacement outcomes for the fifth consecutive year. Both the Mooresville and Beech Grove hospitals achieved five-star ratings for their joint replacement programs.

St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis also received the Patient Experience Award ™. HealthGrades analyzed patient experience in U.S. hospitals using HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) hospital survey data released in March 2010 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In the surveys, patients were asked to rate the hospital’s performance in a variety of ways, including its overall experience, communications with doctors and nurses, staff responsiveness to their needs, pain management and recommendation of the hospital to family and friends.

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

“The HealthGrades recognition reflects the culture of care and the quality of service we provide to those we serve,” added Christopher Doehring, M.D., vice president of medical affairs. “That we continue to receive these consecutive ratings is a testament to our continued dedication to care for our patients.”

Mooresville joint surgery tops in state again

St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville continued to garner statewide and national recognition.

The joint replacement program earned the top spot in Indiana for the fifth consecutive year. Other ratings for the 2010/11 assessment:

  • Recipient of the HealthGrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award (fifth consecutive year)
  • Top 5 percent for in nation for joint replacement (five years)
  • Five-star rating for joint replacement (nine years)
  • Five-star rating for total knee replacement (nine years)
  • Five-star rating for total hip replacement (nine years)

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

“Our team of total joint surgeons, physicians, nurses, therapists and all the members of the health care organization continually strive to improve the way we help people live more active and pain-free lives,” said John B. Meding, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon with the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery and a member of the St. Francis Medical Group.

“We constantly are reviewing every aspect of joint replacement with the assistance of the research foundation here at St. Francis-Mooresville,” added Meding. “We are committed to providing compassionate care and the highest quality services available for total joint replacement patients.”

What the ratings mean

HealthGrades’ hospital ratings and awards reflect the track record of patient outcomes at hospitals’ mortality and complication rates. HealthGrades rates hospitals independently based on data that hospitals submit to the federal government. No hospital can opt in or out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated.

For 28 procedures and treatments, HealthGrades issues star ratings that reflect the mortality and complication rates for each category of care.

Hospitals receiving a five-star rating have mortality or complication rates that are below the national average to a statistically significant degree. A three-star rating means the hospital performs as expected. One-star ratings indicate the hospital’s mortality or complication rates in that procedure or treatment are statistically higher than average.

Because the risk profiles of patient populations at hospitals are not alike, HealthGrades risk-adjusts the data to allow for apples-to-apples comparisons.

More information on today’s HealthGrades study, including the complete methodology, can be found at


About St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers

St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville and operates more than 40 medical facilities in south-central Indiana, including the Plainfield Health Center. St. Francis Hospital is part of a network of 13 hospital campuses in Indiana and Illinois, owned and operated by the Mishawaka-based Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc., one of the largest health-care systems in Indiana. For more information, go to

Monday, October 18, 2010

Record roster of runners poised to pound pavement at Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 7,000 have registered for the 2010 running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon – presented by St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers – and the number of participants surely will soar higher as organizers prepare for the Saturday, Nov. 6 event.

“The response and depth of enthusiasm among runners is truly impressive,” said IMM Executive Director Julie Patterson. “I think our venue, coupled with the time of year and course layout, continues to stir interest in the international running community.”

Runners from 47 states have signed up, and so have participants from Australian, Brazil, Ecuador, Kenya, the Philippines, United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Last year’s IMM registered 6,000; the inaugural event in 2008 attracted 3,100 runners

The race features a full marathon (26.2 miles) a half marathon (13.1 miles). An inaugural 5K run – sponsored by local engineering architectural firm HNTB – also is on tap.

All courses begin near Washington and West streets and finish on Robert D. Orr Drive to the finish line, just steps away from the Indiana State Capitol building.

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 2011 Boston Marathon.

St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers continues in its role as title sponsor of the IMM. The hospital provides a variety means of support, but perhaps the most significant is providing a full medical team ready to assist runners along the course and at a St. Francis Sports Medicine-staffed area near the finish line. Jeff Peterson, M.D., leads a team of physicians, nurses, physical therapists and trainers.

Several lndianapolis-area educational institutions will get a leg up on their programs. The IMM donates its proceeds to those organizations. Last year’s donations exceeded $51,000.

To register for the IMM go to

More information about the St. Francis Sports Medicine program is at


Friday, October 15, 2010

Today’s Senior Promise Fall Health Festival attracts hundreds residents, caregivers

INDIANAPOLIS – About 600 people today (Oct. 15) took advantage of numerous health and wellness opportunities offered by the St. Francis Hospital-based Senior Promise program.

The annual event was geared for those 50 and older, people with diabetes, caregivers and those seeking community resources for seniors and people with disabilities. The festival offered a variety of health screenings and information on a variety of medical topics, most of which were free.

“We typically draw a large number of participants and have one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind in south-central Indiana,” said Senior Promise Director Jim Poole.

Clinicians and representatives from St. Francis’ cancer and heart centers, women’s services, hospice program, home health services, parish nursing and other hospital-based programs were joined by other community-based health organizations were on hand for this year’s event.

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, or call 317-782-6660.


Indianapolis pediatrician saluted by St. Francis for stellar patient care

INDIANAPOLIS – Linda Blanchard, M.D., is the latest recipient of the Healing Hands Award presented by St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers.

With her colleagues, staff and others looking on, Blanchard received the award today (Oct. 15) at her south side office.

“Dr. Blanchard is highly respected by her peers and loved by her patients,” said Christopher “Topper” Doehring, M.D., vice president of medical affairs, who presented the award on behalf of the hospital. “She is a professional, personable person who is very committed to her patients and their well-being.”

Blanchard was nominated by a parent of one of her infant patients.

Board-certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Blanchard practices medicine at Southside Pediatrics Inc. She has held various clinical committee appointments at St. Francis, including chair and vice chair of the hospital’s Department of Pediatrics.

Blanchard earned her medical degree at the Indiana University School of Medicine and has long been a volunteer clinical faculty member in pediatrics. She completed residency at Riley Hospital for Children.

A Phi Beta Kappa IU honors graduate, Blanchard is active in the community as a Girl Scout leader and a volunteer for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization.

Southside Pediatrics Inc. is at 7830 McFarland Lane. To learn more about Blanchard, her colleagues and their practice, go to

Awarded quarterly, the Healing Hands Award was established earlier this year. Its goal is to recognize St. Francis physicians for excellence in clinical skills, patient relations, research, stewardship and their reflection of the hospital’s health-care ministry, values and mission.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

St. Francis Hospital honors nurses for their commitment to excellence

GREENWOOD, Ind. – For most in the field, nursing is far more than a career. It’s a calling that blends professionalism with compassion to care for patients.

And several nurses at St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers were called forward to be recognized at the hospital’s third annual Honoring Excellence in Nursing awards ceremony. The Oct. 12 event, held at Valle Vista Country Club celebrated the achievements of nurses and nursing students.

Recipients were:

Exemplary Professional Practice - Clinical Angela Harris, R.N., Cardiac and Vascular Labs

Structural Empowerment – Community Leadership / Mentor Monica Magna, R.N., Adult Inpatient Unit

Structural Empowerment - Preceptor Rita Osborne, R.N., Pediatrics

New Knowledge / Innovation / Empirical Outcomes - Quality Alison Sharp, R.N., Bone Marrow Transplant Unit

Transformational Leader – Staff Nurse Mary Bush, R.N., Palliative Care

Transformational Leader – Management Team Rhonda Anders, R.N., Nursing Services

Continuing education is paramount in nursing and St. Francis supports this endeavor through the Richard E. Fry Memorial Nursing Scholarships. This year’s recipients are: Kathleen Earle, Chamberlain College of Nursing; Stephanie Lee, University of Indianapolis; Emily Momberg, Purdue University and Jennifer Neff, University of Indianapolis; Tuesday Majors and Chris Lamert, both attending the Indiana University School of Nursing.

The scholarships were established in 2000 by Fry’s widow, Michelle Fry Hanson, and the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation. They memorialize the late high regard for the nursing staff. Fry was chief of vascular surgery at St. Francis until his death in 2000.

The goal of the scholarships is to “recruit and retain the best in the nursing profession” at St. Francis. Nursing scholarships are awarded each May to St. Francis employees who are in good standing and either accepted or enrolled in an accredited nursing program.

The evening also included recognizing the first two DAISY award winners at St. Francis: Dawn Devine, R.N. (Bone Marrow Transplant Unit), and Megan Bradshaw, R.N., (Critical Care Unit).

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is a national program that honors the compassionate care and clinical excellence that our St. Francis nurses bring to their patients every day.

St. Francis employs 1,400 nurses at its hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Mooresville.

To learn more about nursing at St. Francis, visit

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Noble of Indiana lauds St. Francis Hospital for employment excellence

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is the 2010 recipient of the Employment Award presented by Noble of Indiana.

St. Francis was recognized for its long-term association with Noble, whose work crews have provided janitorial services to the hospital’s south side location at 8111 S. Emerson Ave.

The award recognizes individuals, organizations and employers who have successfully fostered diversity in the workforce by hiring persons with developmental disabilities, creating a workplace culture that encourages excellence from all employees, and furthering job growth.

“What sets St. Francis Hospital apart, however, is the support it provides to our work crew from all levels of the organization,” said Rita Davis, Noble’s community relations director.

Roger Barksdale, vice president of ancillary services, accepted the award on behalf of St. Francis at a ceremony/dinner hosted by Noble.

To learn more about Noble of Indiana, visit

Friday, October 1, 2010

Health foundation to honor St. Francis physician for pioneering heart surgery

INDIANAPOLIS -- A St. Francis cardiothoracic surgeon who has gained international prominence for using new technology to repair patients’ inner heart tissue is being honored for that work by the Indiana Public Health Foundation Inc.
Marc Gerdisch, M.D., will be the recipient of the Excellence in Health Science Research Award at the annual Tony and Mary Hulman Health Achievement Awards program Thursday, Oct. 7, at the downtown Westin Hotel.
Gerdisch, the director of cardiothoracic surgery at the St. Francis Heart Center, is being recognized for 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.
In 2008, he became the first in the world to perform procedures using the ECM technology.
“This is a tremendous honor and the St. Francis family is proud of Dr. Gerdisch,” said Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer. “The improved quality of lives and health outcomes of his patients are the true testaments to his success as clinician.”
Gerdisch is a partner at Cardiac Surgery Associates, co-director of the St. Francis Heart Valve Center and is clinical assistant professor of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.
In March 2010, Gerdisch was honored for his work with the ECM and named a “Health Care Hero” by the Indianapolis Business Journal.
To learn more about Gerdisch’s work, go to
For more than 15 years, Gerdisch has contributed to advancements in cardiac surgery, being one of the first to perform many less invasive and innovative procedures. His expertise spans from novel minimally invasive treatments for atrial fibrillation, to high-risk multi-valve operations in patients with advanced disease.
More recently, Gerdisch and his surgical team were among the first in the nation to use a new intracardial device and procedure to reduce the risk of stroke for patients.
The system is called the AtriClip Gillinov-Cosgrove Left Atrial Appendage Exclusion and it recently was given approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is used on atrial fibrillation (afib) patients undergoing open-heart surgery.
Gerdisch’s selection marks the third time in four years that St. Francis Heart Center clinicians have been selected for the Hulman Awards.
In 2008, the Cardiac Screening Center received the Health Achievement Award for its extensive screening outreach program to south-central Indiana. In 2007, the Emergency Heart Attack Response Team (EHART®) was recognized for implementing a protocol that more effectively treats heart attack patients.
For more information about the Indiana Public Health Foundation or the awards event, go to