St. Francis Health Anthem Video

On October 17, 1909, St. Francis Health opened its doors, and a legacy of quality, compassionate, person-centered healthcare was born. In recognition of our birthday, we put together this video to celebrate more than 100 years of service and the bright future that lies ahead. We’re honored to serve and heal the people of Topeka…yesterday, today and tomorrow.

St. Francis Health Anthem Video


Dedicated & Caring Associates Earn Top Marks in Patient Experience

Every second of every day, we focus on delivering an outstanding experience to our patients. It’s at the heart of our mission at St. Francis Health, and we measure it to ensure we’re living up to our promise. Recent results are in, and our dedication to providing exceptional care has earned us our best-ever HCAHPS patient experience scores!

We’ve demonstrated loud and clear our promise to provide patients and their loved ones the best experience through safe, compassionate, and personalized care. For the first half of 2016, we met or exceeded all of our HCAHPS targets and earned “all green” for:

  • overall rating;
  • communication with nurses;
  • pain management;
  • responsiveness of staff; and
  • hospital environment.

“These scores represent feedback from our patients and demonstrate how we are meeting, and often exceeding, their needs,” said Lisa Alexander, Vice President Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer, at St. Francis Health. “Seeing the positive progress and sustainability month after month validates that we are providing the care environment our patients deserve. Achieving these results during a time of transition speaks volumes about our team’s devotion to our patients.”

Celebrating Outstanding Care

Debbie Haas and Laura Ludwick

Debbie Haas and Laura Ludwick are on the hunt to catch all of the HCAHPS GO! cards!

To celebrate and continue our laser-focus on our patient experience goals, last week associates engaged in an interactive HCAHPS GO! game – channeling their inner Pokémon, with fun, prizes, cool characters and ice cream. The game included HCAHPS GO! stops, collecting character cards, submitting feedback for further improvements, prizes for completing quiz questions related to patient experience, and being treated to St. Francis M&Ms® when caught wearing green in support of our goals.

“Through our daily interactions with patients, their families, and fellow associates, we have the great fortune and opportunity to put our best selves forward in service to others. It does not take a pre-planned event or expensive offering to make a positive impact – the beauty lies within the small exchanges, the quiet moments and seemingly insignificant acts of kindness to communicate genuine care,” said Teresa Kellerman, Wound Ostomy Continence, APRN, at St. Francis Health. “Beyond the patient satisfaction score, it is knowing that we make a difference, the sense of oneness with another human being, the connectedness that we have as a healthcare community.”

Connecting through Service

The heart of St. Francis is each of us, connecting with our patients and community through meaningful care and service. This is most apparent when measuring patient experience, which reflects the attention to detail we put forth – from the moment a patient comes through our doors to when we send him or her home, healthier. In line with our Ministry Excellence Goals, our intention is continually enhancing patient care, consistently promoting a better quality of life for those we serve. You can track our progress under Patient Experience Results, here on The Landing or watch for postings in your area.

Thank you for your dedication to being tremendous care providers. The proof is in these results and comes directly from those who trust us with their lives. Congratulations!

St. Francis Health is WILD About Wellness!

St. Francis Health is wild about wellness, and we want you to be too! That’s why we are hosting the first St. Francis Health Wild Wellness Day at the Topeka Zoo this Saturday, Sept. 10, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Inside the zoo, our St. Francis teams will have booths set up representing all of our services, featuring educational materials and fun activities for the family. Don’t miss this great opportunity to mingle with our medical staff, have fun and gain valuable information about ways we can help you stay healthy. Special community education presentations will take place in the Wildlife Theater throughout the event, including:

Concussion Education for Parents
Dr. Peter Loo, St. Francis Sports Medicine

Caring for your Heart
Dr. Swapna Mamidipally and Diane Wilkins, APRN, St. Francis Heart and Vascular Center

Cancer Screenings: When You Need a Screening, and What to Do to Prevent Cancer
Dr. Jameel Kyasa, St. Francis Health Comprehensive Cancer Center

In addition to great educational information from our doctors, there will be fun, engaging activities for the entire family throughout the day including:

Exercise Like an Animal
You’ll have not one but two chances to get your workout in with St. Francis Recreational Therapist, Heidi Ross, who will lead attendees in a fun, animal-inspired interactive workout for all ages.

Eat Like an Animal
Our food and nutrition team will be set up in the pavilion to help you eat like an animal – offering free healthy snacks inspired by our zoo resident’s diets. You’ll be able to grab fresh fruit and veggies and even make your own trail mix!


Register for this event today by visiting, or call Martie Rison at 785-295-8900 to register or if you have any questions. You can also register the day of the event, and you must register to be eligible for giveaways. The cost is $5 to cover zoo entry. Children under the age of 3 and Friends of the Zoo Members who present their membership cards will get in free.

Capital City Cowboys Raise Funds for the St. Francis Health Foundation

Capital City CowboysThe day’s activities provided constant reminders of why this shoot was more special than an ordinary day on the range. Their normally authentic cowboy attire and ammunition was noticeably pink. Each member had a pink ribbon tied around their arm or cowboy hat. Even the targets had been painted pink for the day.

The Capital City Cowboys is a group of men and women of all ages who participate in competitive shooting. They dress in old west attire and choose cowboy nicknames like “Southern Gentleman”, “Doc”, “Bad Moon” and “Opossum”, which is how they are addressed during the shoot. The group is extremely friendly and welcoming, and there is a good measure of laughter and conversation. To learn more about the Capital City Cowboys, visit their website

Thank you to the Capital City Cowboys for the kindness and compassion you have shown our patients through your donation. The money you have raised will go to help many of the patients of the St. Francis Health Comprehensive Cancer Center.



St. Francis Health is “Over the Moon” When it comes to Babies

Because every new mom and her precious new addition(s) should be celebrated with a perfect party, St. Francis Health is excited to announce it will be holding its annual community baby shower this Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the hospital’s auditorium, located on the second floor. The event, held in partnership with St. Francis Health’s Women’s Services departments, is designed to provide education, resources and a little bit of pampering for new and expecting moms in Topeka and surrounding areas.

The baby shower, themed “Over the Moon: A Star is Born,” will feature expert speakers, including several St. Francis Health providers, retail vendors, community partners, tours of the St. Francis New Life Center, a baby fashion show featuring clothes from local retailers worn by the cutest models you’ll ever see, door prizes and gifts galore. While the event is filled with fun activities, it also provides a forum for moms to get education and information about resources and care options to help throughout pregnancy and beyond.

“It’s important for women in our community to know what their options are for the birthing process, and we are excited to share our services and answer any questions they might have,” said Patty Handley, Director of Maternal Child Services at St. Francis Health. “At this event, women will not only be able to tour our facilities and visit with our doctors, we’ll also offer a presentation we call 48 Hours in 48 Minutes, which takes them through step-by-step what to expect from the time they arrive to deliver to the time they leave, and the resources we offer that they can count on in the days and weeks after delivery.”

There is no cost to attend the event, but registration is encouraged. For more information and to register, visit or call 785-295-8900. A full schedule of the day’s activities is listed below.

Schedule of Activities:

10 a.m.                                                  Registration opens
10:30 – 11:15 a.m.                              48 Hours in 48 Minutes: What to expect during your stay at the New Life Center
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.                     Baby Fashion Show: See the cutest models rock the latest in baby fashion!
Every 30 Minutes                                 Tours of the St. Francis Health New Life Center
10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.                             Browse vendor booths and enjoy free food and drinks


St. Francis Health Receives 2016 State of Wellness Worksite Health Champion Award

St. Francis Health was recently recognized with the 2016 State of Wellness Worksite Health Champion award presented by the Kansas Alliance for Wellness! Congratulations to the 7th Street Bistro team, our partners at Aramark and our leadership team for all their work to set such a high standard for healthy, delicious food options for our patients and associates!

Congratulations St. Francis!

SCL Health Seeks to Transform Topeka Healthcare Ministry

StFrancis_330x220To help support St. Francis Health as it adjusts to a rapidly changing healthcare landscape, SCL Health is seeking proposals from other healthcare providers to assume responsibility for the Topeka-based ministry and its medical group. See the press release.

“This was a difficult decision and one that involved significant contemplation and prayer,” said SCL Health President and CEO Mike Slubowski, in the news release. “Both the SCL Health Board and St. Francis’s Board ultimately agreed that the best way to ensure a viable future for St. Francis, its associates and physicians is to find another provider organization, preferably with operations in Kansas. We want an organization that will support local leadership as they re-invent St. Francis to compete in a unique market and in a state that has yet to expand Medicaid coverage.”

Developing a long-term strategy for St. Francis is a Blue Chip, or top strategic priority for this year, and leaders at both SCL Health and St. Francis evaluated a number of strategic scenarios. In 2015, they discussed the potential for collaborative arrangements with local providers and insurers. After failing to reach consensus, SCL Health continued to study alternatives and ultimately decided to seek interest from a wider group of healthcare organizations.

Sr. Maureen Hall, an SCL and Board Director for SCL Health, wrote in a letter to the SCLs and their associates: “After much discussion and prayerful discernment , and with the support of the SCL Health Board, Leaven Ministries and the St. Francis Health Board, the health system is pursuing the path of seeking another healthcare organization to assume responsibility for the health ministry in Topeka . This very difficult decision came out of a lengthy discernment by the SCL Health Board of Directors and Leaven Ministries with the conclusion that this is the best decision for St. Francis and our entire health ministry . SCL Health’s goal is to identify an organization that will support sufficient transformation of St. Francis and its medical group in a changing healthcare environment.

SCL Health has engaged Citi, a national expert in healthcare transactions, to manage the process to collect proposals. Among the top priorities SCL Health and St. Francis seek in a provider are commitments to:

  • Continue to fulfill the healthcare needs of the community;
  • Continue the provide charity care services to meet community needs;
  • Continue to make investments in appropriate capital projects and information technology needs

As part of this transition, SCL Health is committed to maintaining charity care services and community benefits. Marian Dental Clinic, which provides much-needed oral health care to the underserved, will continue its mission. St. Francis Health Foundation will continue to support local community health needs as well.

Day-to-day operations at St. Francis will not change as this process moves forward.

“I’m confident we will attract interest,” said St. Francis Health President David Setchel. “We offer superior quality and outstanding physicians, nurses, allied health providers and associates who are committed to providing the highest level of person-centered care. Additionally, we have the benefit of the transformation happening in the Topeka community, with strong local leadership that is driving exciting revitalization efforts in Downtown Topeka and other key projects that support our city’s economic development and quality of life. We are proud of our ministry and look forward to continuing our legacy of healing in Topeka for many years to come.”

St. Francis Health Celebrates Nurses’ Week with Luncheon and Annual Award Celebration

Resized for the LandingAs a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may not remember your name but they will never forget the way you made them feel. — Maya Angelou

Today we celebrated our nursing team here at St. Francis Health with an appreciation lunch for our entire nursing staff, and by presenting the best and brightest within our team with awards of recognition. Each award winner was nominated by their team for demonstrating the values of St. Francis Health.

The winners of the 2016 St. Francis Health Nursing Awards are:

  • Expert Nurse Mentor – Mendy Crump – Emergency Department
  • Expert Nurse Leader – Sonya Boline – Surgery
  • Expert Clinical Nurse – Hija Pak – Telemetry
  • Expert Clinical Nurse – Sandy Jones – Case Manager
  • Outstanding New Grad – Easlyn Haase – Post Surgical
  • Friend on Nursing – Bill Lechner – Therapies

In addition to the categories listed above, the St. Francis Health Foundation gives the Anne Pusitz Award to nurses who demonstrate the mission of St. Francis.

  • The winners of the 2016 Anne Pustiz Award are
  • Brenda Cummings—Surgery
  • Sam Donaldson –PCU
  • Lindsey Busch—Infusion Center
  • Kaila Cox—Surgery
  • Andrea Ferrell—Post Surgical
  • Iaron Jones-Surgery
  • Marilyn Ramirez—Telemetry
  • Dulce Smith—Post Surgical

Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you for all that you do to show the caring and compassionate spirit of St. Francis Health.

A Life of Service: The Extraordinary Journey of St. Francis Health RN Mendy Crump

Mendy Crump

Mendy Crump, RN in the Emergency Department at St. Francis Health

Mendy Crump grew up on dairy farm in Parsons, Kansas. One of six children, she grew up with a routine that is reflective of the work ethic of many farming families in Kansas. “We woke each day at 4 a.m. to milk 100 head of cattle before school,” she says with a wistful smile. “Then we’d milk again in the evening. I always joked with my parents that they had six children so they could be hired hands!”

While on the surface her childhood might have seemed like that of a typical Kansas farm family, there was something different and special about Mendy’s childhood. Her two brothers, Teddy and Matthew, were diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Mendy played an instrumental role in caring for her brothers throughout her youth, taking on a maternal role that she not only cherished, but would later lay the foundation for her career in nursing.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. It is one of nine types of muscular dystrophy, and ultimately over time attacks the heart and respiratory system. Those living with DMD often require total care at a young age. Mendy’s experience caring for Teddy and Matthew inspired her to apply for nursing school. She found out she was accepted to Baker University’s school of nursing in the same year her brother Teddy passed away from complications from DMD.

More determined than ever, Mendy pressed on with nursing school. She took a full-time job as a night shift medical aid at a nursing home to put herself through school, and lived in her parent’s basement so she could continue to care for Matthew. In her third year of nursing school, she met her husband, Jake, and after graduating, they were married.

Still wanting to be close to Matthew to aid in his care, Mendy and her husband moved into a house across the street from her parent’s home and started their new life. Mendy had taken a job at the Birthplace at Stormont Vail, and all she knew of St. Francis was that Matthew was receiving care there. “I actually recall going to St. Francis with Matthew, and I don’t know if she will remember this, but Beth Williams helped put in his PIC line,” Mendy recalls. “I saw the level of care and compassion that St. Francis provided my brother, and I knew that’s where I wanted to be.”

She joined St. Francis Health 17 years ago in the float pool, and moved to the Emergency Department a few short years later, where she remains today. And as her career path was falling into place, another journey was unfolding in her personal life.

Because of her family history with DMD, Mendy had been tested to see if she was a carrier before she decided to start her own family. The test results came back negative, and a few years later, Mendy became pregnant with her first child. Her doctors decided to test her again as a precaution. Plus, technology had improved since the last test was performed. This time, the results were positive.

Mendy recalls talking about her fear of bringing a child into the world that may have to face the same challenges she watched her brothers live with over the years. She turned to her brother Matthew for counsel. “I remember going to my brother for advice. I was devastated at the thought of bringing a precious life into the world that might not have what I felt would be a good quality of life. One of the most difficult things about people with DMD is their minds are intact. They are aware of what they are going through. I had watched all that my brothers had to experience, and it was overwhelming.”


Mendy and her son Nicholas

Matthew’s response was simple and profound. “Mendy, if you have a family that loves and cares for you, it’s the best life ever. I have had the best life ever.”

Matthew passed away in February of 1999, a month before Mendy and Jake welcomed Nicholas, their son, to the world. At age four, Nicholas was diagnosed with DMD. On Mother’s Day, when Nicholas was six, he stopped walking. His doctors told Mendy and Jake he would not live beyond his teenage years.

Nicholas is now 17 and requires total care. He is on a ventilator and requires a feeding tube, but Mendy says he is an amazing young man. “Before he went on a ventilator, we took him to Mexico to swim with the dolphins. We have always wanted him to have the same experiences in life that other kids do. When we found out he needed a feeding tube, we took a vacation to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore before the procedure. Even though his food now has to be pureed and is supplemented with the feeding tube, Nicholas still likes the same things a typical teenager would. Pizza, burgers. We just take life one day at a time.”

Nearly 8 years ago Mendy and Jake welcomed a little girl, Abby, to the world. “We didn’t expect Abby, and we went through the same fears and uncertainties that we did with Nicholas,” Mendy says. “But she is a healthy, happy little girl, and she loves her big brother and helps out a lot with his care.”

As if Mendy’s story isn’t remarkable enough already, what is even more amazing is so many at work would never know of the struggles she and her family have had to overcome, because she is widely regarded as one of the most positive, inspiring, dedicated nurses in her unit.

“Mendy has an incredibly positive attitude, says Paul Leavens, Director of Emergency Services. “She excels in assisting others to grow professionally and supports new staff to the department. She is loyal and committed to St. Francis and I have never heard her complain.  How she shows up every day despite her personal challenges is truly an inspiration.”


“Nicholas told his dad a few years ago that he would never have his own truck or be able to drive,” Mendy recalls. “That inspired Jake to purchase a pile of rusty metal, a 1932 Chevy (pictured)–which I soon found out was a “rat rod”–that he decided to rebuild so he could drive Nick to his eighth grade graduation in it.”

“Mendy is one of the most amazing and compassionate nurses that I have ever met,” says Sandy Siebert, an RN and one of Mendy’s peers in the emergency department. “She is so dedicated to making sure that the new staff hired in the ED get an excellent orientation experience and spends countless hours making sure they are prepared to care for ED patients after their orientation is complete.  Mendy is an awesome wife and mom and is a woman who truly gives every ounce of what she has to making sure that her family is cared for and shows them every day how much she loves them.  I am so grateful that I can call Mendy a peer and a friend.”

“Everything I have experienced with my brothers and Nicholas has made me the nurse I am today,” Mendy explains. “And, it’s what made me choose St. Francis. Being a mother and a sister on the receiving end of the patient experience, I want to be sure EVERY mother has that kind of care and compassion when they come here.”

“I’m also a better teacher because of my family. I teach trauma nursing and pediatric life support classes. My own experiences help me relate to and connect with other parents with special needs children. And I can’t say enough about my team at St. Francis. They are so positive, and I love working with them.”

When asked how she is able to give so much of herself so freely to her family, her patients and her team at St. Francis with such a positive attitude and so much passion and energy, Mendy gently smiles and dismisses it, like it’s nothing special.

“I certainly have a full plate, but when things get tough I think of my brothers. I think of my son. Every day of their lives they struggled to breathe. They struggled to feed themselves. I think to myself, if they can do it, I can do it. I was raised to put 110 percent into everything I do. To live life to the fullest. At the end of the day, all I really want is to know that I made a difference.”

Running Across the United States at St. Francis Sports Medicine

St. Francis Health Sports Medicine volunteer Phil Gutierrez has accomplished something very impressive. He recently completed his four year journey to run the miles it would take to run across the United States of America. Phil’s journey started small, in fact, he did not set such a lofty goal in the beginning. To tell Phil’s story we have to go back 2,600 miles to when he first joined the SeniorSpirit program with his wife Rebecca. In the beginning he had very humble goals; get some exercise and meet new people. Phil enjoyed the group so much; he started volunteering at St. Francis Sports Medicine. He volunteers his time by cleaning equipment, making sure the grounds are kept beautiful and by supporting and motivating continued care members. At first, Phil would lift weights five times a week to get into shape until a friend told him he needed to take breaks from weight lifting to have a better-rounded workout routine. So Phil started walking the track at the St. Francis Sports Medicine facility and walking soon turned into running.  He found he enjoyed running much more than weight lifting.

St. Francis Health Sports Medicine team celebrates as Phil Gutierrez completes his run across the United States.

St. Francis Health Sports Medicine team celebrates as Phil Gutierrez completes his run across the United States.

Now he is running 10K’s on Monday’s and Wednesday’s and 10 miles on Friday’s.  Running has even become how Phil celebrates, on his 75th birthday he ran 150 laps. To stay motivated and make running more fun, Phil set goals for himself.  His first goal was to run the miles it would take to get to Independence, Missouri, where his sister-in-law lives.  Once he met that goal, he decided to run the miles it would take to reach Fort Worth, Texas, where his sister lives.  From Fort Worth, he decided to run the miles it would take to visit his son in California.  From California it only made sense to run the miles it would take to get to the East coast.  Phil whirring around the track with his ear buds in has become a regular sight at the Sports Medicine facility. He has ten different MP3 players loaded up with different music mixes to help keep him going.  Phil says that on the days when it is particularly hard to get motivated, Santana is the best to keep him going.

“Phil has inspired several people along the way. Different continued care members will run with him off and on as he makes his laps each day.  He inspires both young and old, even our high school students say ‘I better get moving because he is out running me!’”, says Brenda Beckman, Supervisor at St. Francis Health Sports Medicine “Phil has a very big fan club”.  And on Friday, April 29th Phil’s fan club was there to cheer him on as he made his final laps around the track. After he burst through the finish line the St. Francis Sports Medicine team presented him with a plaque to commemorate his accomplishment. Morgan McDaniel, Director of Outpatient Rehab said “Phil is very inspirational, the fact that he volunteers with us, is active in the community and then does something like this, it’s just such an powerful story”

Phil started running for the first time in his life in his 70’s. He kept running and covered the distance it would take to run across the United States of America.  His advice for people who want to start running is to “run on an inside track”, he says “When you run outside on the concrete it is harder on your knees and you have obstacles like cracked sidewalks and fallen limbs. Running inside is smooth and much easier on your knees.”

So is Phil done running? Not a chance! When asked what his next destination will be he is unsure, but his wife, Rachel, suggests Hawaii. Phil is not sure how he can run over water but everyone is sure if anyone can work out that detail it will be him.