News Center

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Franciscan St. Francis Health earns national heart care performance recognition

INDIANAPOLIS – Franciscan St. Francis Health’s nationally recognized heart attack team has received the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s 2012 National Cardiovascular Data Registry-Get With the Gold Performance Achievement Award – one of only 26 hospitals nationwide to do so.

The award recognizes Franciscan St. Francis’ commitment and continued success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients, and signifies the hospital has reached an aggressive goal of treating these patients to standard levels of care as outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) clinical guidelines and recommendations.

To receive the award, Franciscan St. Francis consistently followed the treatment guidelines for eight consecutive quarters and met a performance standard of 90 percent for specific performance measures. Following these treatment guidelines improves adherence to ACC/AHA recommendations, monitors drug safety and the overall quality of care provided to ST-elevation myocardial infarction and non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction patients.

“Franciscan St. Francis Health has been and continues to be focused on improving the quality of cardiovascular care by setting the standards,” said William Berg, MD, medical director of Franciscan St. Francis Heart Center. “The number of acute myocardial infarction patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing incidence of heart disease and a growing aging population.”

To receive the ACTION Registry–GWTG Gold Performance Achievement Award, Franciscan St. Francis Health consistently followed the treatment guidelines in ACTION Registry–GWTG for 24 consecutive months. These include consistent, evidence-based use of medications like cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, and anticoagulants in the hospital. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Born to be mild®: Less-invasive surgery markedly eases patients’ back pain, restores mobility

Franciscan St. Francis Health physician among few certified to perform procedure

INDIANAPOLIS – It causes extreme pain, numbness, or tingling in the lower back, legs or buttocks, limiting a person’s ability to walk or even stand for long periods of time. The reality is that lumbar spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the lower spinal canal – affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans.

Now comes a treatment which eases the pain and other conditions associated with spinal stenosis and physicians at Franciscan St. Francis Health have been using it to help their patients. It’s called mild® (minimally invasive lumbar decompression), an outpatient procedure which usually takes less than an hour and enables patients to resume light activities within a few days.

“The mild procedure is for patients who are too old or too sick for more open surgery, or who want to try something less invasive first,” said Robert Prince, MD, a pain expert with Franciscan Physician Network Spine Specialists. “While traditional surgery is effective, it requires general anesthesia, lengthier hospital stays and poses a higher risk of complications.”

Prince is one of the few physicians in Indiana and nationally who are certified to perform mild, which was developed by the California-based Vertos Medical Inc.

Lumbar spinal stenosis generally manifests in people 50 years and older, and the likelihood of developing it increases as they age. Non-surgical treatments include a regimen of specialized exercise, activity modification and cortisone injections, the latter of which can only temporarily reduce symptoms.

Here’s how mild works: A small incision is made in the affected area and then specialized imagery and tools are used to remove excess small pieces of bone and ligament tissue. This restores space in the spinal canal and decreases compression of the nerves. No general anesthesia, implants, or stitches are necessary with this procedure.

A study conducted at the Cleveland Clinic found that mild is both effective and efficient and offers most patients a new alternative.  After monitoring 40 patients over a one-year period, researchers found that standing time for mild patients increased on average from eight minutes to nearly an hour and that the patients' average walking distance increased from 246 feet to nearly three quarters of a mile.  

View an animation of how mild® works here

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Making a Big Splash!

     Franciscan St. Francis Health was on hand for the Aug. 26 grand opening of City Center Park in Old Town Greenwood. The hospital was a founding partner of the project, donating $25,000 earlier this year. 

     The contribution was designated to help build the Splash Pad and other family-friendly activities at the park.

City workers prepare the site before the grand
Downpour testing at the Splash Pad.

Sister Marlene Shapley recites the Prayer of St. Francis
Joe Sagorsky (r) accepts formal recognition of the hospital's support of the park project from Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers.

And in a flash there was splash!

Youngsters immediate found a way to cope with the 90-plus degree heat.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cardiovascular professionals prepare for Franciscan St. Francis Health symposium

INDIANAPOLIS – Hundreds of health-care professionals are expected to attend the fifth annual Franciscan St. Francis Health Cardiovascular Symposium on Friday, Sept. 13.
Participants at the day-long conference will discuss new treatment options for patients with heart failure, heart valve disease and atrial fibrillation and discuss recent landmark studies in cardiovascular care.

Presenters include cardiologists and an endocrinologist from Franciscan Physician Network, along with cardiovascular surgeons from Cardiac Surgery Associates.

Other topics will include the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease; device therapy; and how Franciscan Alliance Accountable Care Organizations will enhance delivery of care.

Also on deck is a session led by Mary Starvaggi, a communications and etiquette expert who has worked nationally to help health-care professionals hone their communications and listening skills with patients and amongst colleagues.
Held at The Westin Indianapolis, the symposium offers continuing medical education credits and will give primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and other allied health professionals insight into new treatments and procedures advancing patient outcomes.
Click here for a full listing of presenters, agenda and more details about the 2013 symposium.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Franciscan Physician Network Pain Specialists welcomes new staff doctor

INDIANAPOLIS – Amrita De Patel, MD, has established a new practice with Franciscan Physician Network Pain Specialists and is accepting new patients.
She joins Robert H. Kravitz, MD, at Pain Specialists, which is located at 8051 S. Emerson Ave., Suite 250, located on the Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis campus.

Dr. Patel recently completed residency training at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she also earned her medical degree. She received her undergraduate degree in nutrition science at IU-Bloomington.

During her medical education and residency, she gave several professional presentations and was an active volunteer in community health outreach programs.

Led by President Isaac J. Myers II, MD, Franciscan Physician Network-Central Indiana Region is a multidisciplinary group of physicians throughout central Indiana. These physicians offer a variety of primary care and specialty care services and all practice at Franciscan St. Francis Health.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Surgeon explains orthopedic, joint replacement therapies Sept. 12

GREENCASTLE, Ind. – You can overcome hip and knee pain and get back to leading an active and rewarding life — and Franciscan St. Francis Health wants to show you how.

Franciscan St. Francis Health will present an arthritis and hip and knee replacement seminar at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 12, at The Inn at DePauw & Event Center, 2 W. Seminary St., Greencastle. Light refreshments will be served, beginning at 6 p.m.

Wesley Lackey, MD, 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.

Lackey is a surgeon with Franciscan Physician Network Joint Replacement Surgeons, the practice group affiliated with the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery at St. Francis Health-Mooresville, recognized in the United States and the world as a premier center for joint replacement surgery.

To register for this seminar, call Franciscan St. Francis toll-free at 1-877-888-1777.

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Franciscan St. Francis Health stroke program receives national certification

INDIANAPOLIS – Franciscan St. Francis Health has been awarded Primary Stroke Certification from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP).

The certification means Franciscan St. Francis’ Stroke Alert program has the capability to treat acute stroke patients, provide comprehensive stroke care, and administer other acute therapies safely and efficiently.

“We are proud to achieve HFAP’s prestigious Primary Stroke Certification. Our team has worked tirelessly to achieve this certification, and it reflects our dedication to excellent patient care and service,” said David Glander, MD, neurologist and medical director of the Franciscan St. Francis Health Neurosciences Center. “In awarding us Primary Stroke Certification, HFAP has acknowledged the exceptional stroke care we provide to our patients and our commitment to the well-being of our community and surrounding communities.”

HFAP stroke certification differs from other certification programs in that it provides a three-year certification award. In addition, HFAP requirements include 110 clinical standards and performance measures.  The surveyors from HFAP informed the Stroke Alert Team at Franciscan St. Francis their survey was among the highest rated.

“Franciscan St. Francis Health has demonstrated and is clearly committed to providing excellent stroke care to its patients,” said HFAP CEO Michael Zarski. “Hospitals that have established centers have demonstrated improved treatment, better patient outcomes, and reduced costs. Moreover, Primary Stroke centers have the required infrastructure and protocols in place to stabilize and provide rapid and evidence-based care.”

To achieve Primary Stroke Certification, Franciscan St. Francis needed to meet the following standards:

·         The program director must have extensive experience in acute stroke care
·         Stroke Alert team arrival at bedside must be within 15 minutes
·         Lab testing and advanced imaging results must be available within 45 minutes of patient arrival 24 hours a day
·         Must have access to neurologists 24/7, within 15 minutes of patient arrival
·         Must have neurosurgical expertise available
·         Must have a designated stroke unit
·         Staff must meet stroke-specific education requirements
·         Stroke Alert team ensures that each patient receives appropriate and efficient protocol-driven care

For more information, visit

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Grieving youth learn coping skills through Franciscan St. Francis Hospice program

INDIANAPOLIS – 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.

That’s why Franciscan VNS St. Francis Hospice offers Caterpillar Kids, a free 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 spiritual bereavement counselor Karla Riggs 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.”

The program will offer its autumn Caterpillar Kids series Wednesdays, Sept. 18, 25; Oct.  2, 9, 16 and 23. The free workshops meet from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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 317-528-528-2636 or 800-390-9915.

Nurses stand out for extraordinary patient care

INDIANAPOLIS – Nurses bring many qualities when providing care to their patients and families. Dedication, joyful service and compassionate care motivates patients to get better and gives them encouragement.

Dion Jones and Robin Lawrence are the June recipients of the hospital’s DAISY Awards, presented to registered nurses by Franciscan St. Francis Health.

Jones, who works at the hospital’s Indianapolis campus in the Intensive Care Unit, was nominated by a family member of a patient who spent several days in the ICU.  “Dion built a trust with the family that you don’t always see,” the patient’s child said. “I thank Dion for all he did for my family that weekend in helping us through a very traumatic time.”

Lawrence works in Critical Care Unit at Indianapolis. Nominated by a co-worker, Lawrence rose to the task of caring for a patient with love and compassion. “She saw the possibilities and potential in the patient and the mission and values of Franciscan St. Francis of joyful service and compassion care were evident in the care she provided.”

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

Monday, August 12, 2013

Physician joins Central Indiana Dermatology.

GREENWOOD, Ind. – Barbara R. Sturm, MD, has joined Franciscan Physician Network Central Indiana Dermatology.

With a long-time affiliation with Franciscan St. Francis Health, she previously operated an independent practice, Dermatology of Stones Crossing, since 1991.

Dr. Sturm received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Purdue University and earned her medical degree at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she later completed a residency in dermatology.

She was named the 2009 Teacher of the Year for her leadership with the Franciscan St. Francis Family Medicine Residency Program. Since 2002, she consistently has been among the “Top Docs” listed annually in the Indianapolis Monthly magazine.

Dr. Sturm is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, Indiana State Medical Association, American Medical Association, Johnson County Medical Society and Indiana Dermatologic Society.

Led by Central Indiana Region President Isaac J. Myers II, MD, Franciscan Physician Network Central Indiana Region is a multidisciplinary group of physicians throughout central Indiana. These physicians offer a variety of primary care and specialty care services and all practice at Franciscan St. Francis Health.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Doctor joins Franciscan Physician Network Southeast Family Medicine

GREENWOOD, Ind. – John C. Rau, MD, has established a new practice with Franciscan Physician Network Southeast Family Medicine and is accepting new patients.

He joins Richard E. Rejer, MD; Jason E. Rieser, MD; and Eileen B. Thomason, MD, Southeast Family Medicine, and the office is located at 965 Emerson Parkway, Suite J, Greenwood.

Dr. Rau received his undergraduate degrees in chemistry and philosophy from Indiana University and earned his doctorate at the IU School of Medicine. He recently completed a three-year internship and residency in family medicine at Franciscan St. Francis Health. He is board certified in family medicine.

A member of the American Academy of Family Practice and the American Medical Association, Dr. Rau also was an occupational health physician for Defense Support Services.

Led by Central Indiana Region President Isaac J. Myers II, MD, Franciscan Physician Network is a multidisciplinary group of physicians throughout central Indiana. These physicians offer a variety of primary care and specialty care services and all practice at Franciscan St. Francis Health.

Center Grove Family Medicine welcomes new physician

GREENWOOD, Ind. – Brendan Sweeny, MD, has established a new practice with Franciscan Physician Network Center Grove Family Medicine and is accepting new patients.

He joins Timothy J. Nussbaum, MD; and Michael L. Shoemaker, MD, Center Grove Family Medicine,  whose office is located at 362 Meridian Parke Lane, Greenwood.

Dr. Sweeny recently completed an internship and residency in family medicine at Franciscan  St. Francis Health. He earned his medical degree at the Indiana University School of Medicine and received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from IU-Bloomington.  He is board certified in family medicine.

Before attending medical school, he was a health unit coordinator at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo. He holds memberships in the American Medical Association, American Association of Family Practice and Indiana Association of Family Practice.

Led by Central Indiana Region President Isaac J. Myers II, MD, Franciscan Physician Network is a multidisciplinary group of physicians throughout central Indiana. These physicians offer a variety of primary care and specialty care services and all practice at Franciscan St. Francis Health.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Franciscan St. Francis Health earns Aetna distinction for cardiovascular care

INDIANAPOLIS – Franciscan St. Francis Health has been designated an Aetna Institute of Quality® Cardiac Care Facility for comprehensive heart and vascular treatment.

At present, Franciscan St. Francis is the only hospital in Indiana to have this Aetna Institute of Quality designation.

Aetna makes information about the quality and cost of health care services available to its members to help them make informed decisions about their medical needs. In line with this goal, Aetna recognizes hospitals and facilities in its network that offer specialized clinical services for certain health conditions. Facilities are selected for consistently delivering evidence-based, safe care.

“We are dedicated to making our care for cardiovascular patients among the best in the country,” said Terri Ruff, executive director of Franciscan St. Francis Heart Center. “In achieving this goal, we are proud to have been designated an Aetna Institute of Quality.”

Franciscan St. Francis Health has one of the region’s most robust and comprehensive heart and vascular programs to treat the most complex cardiovascular conditions and has amassed numerous awards and accreditations for its services.

 Aetna designates cardiac care facilities as Institutes of Quality (IOQ) based on measures of clinical performance, access and efficiency for cardiac care. IOQ Cardiac Care facilities include comprehensive heart and vascular treatment centers that provide both inpatient and outpatient procedures. They also offer medical care for cardiac conditions that do not involve surgery or procedures.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Franciscan St. Francis receives national recognition for occupational health programs

INDIANAPOLIS – WorkingWell at Franciscan St. Francis Health has been awarded a three-year quality certification from the National Association of Occupational Health Professionals (NAOHP).

The program is one of only 25 centers in the nation to receive the certification, which supports provider-based occupational health programs and professionals. Specifically, it was recognized for outstanding achievement in compliance to standards, including: administration, operational framework, staffing processes, quality assurance, product line development and marketing.

Our programs and services can help prevent illness, maintain health and provide early intervention and rehabilitation whenever injuries or health problems occur on the job,” said Connie Brandes, RN, Director of Ambulatory Services at Franciscan St. Francis. “We are honored to receive the NAOHP certification.”

Established in August 1983, WorkingWell (formerly Occupational Health) has served Indiana employers and employees by offering a variety of occupational and environmental medicine services, injury management, physical exams and regulatory screenings, Department of Transportation services, onsite employer services and health prevention programs.

A NAOHP evaluator wrote of WorkingWell: “I was impressed with their outstanding program. They have a highly committed staff who works wonderfully as a team for patient and client company excellence.”

Franciscan WorkingWell has local sites at 747 E. County Line Road, Greenwood; 1001 Hadley Road, LL190 (Pavilion), Mooresville; and the Indianapolis City-County Building, 200 E. Washington St. It also operates Franciscan TravelWell, designed to help business and leisure travelers stay healthy abroad.