Responding to Joplin’s need: Freeman establishes Transitional Care Unit

Friday, July 15, 2011 - Responding to Joplin’s need: Freeman establishes Transitional Care Unit

JOPLIN, Mo.—Freeman Health System has responded to Joplin’s need since the May 22 tornado by establishing a Transitional Care Unit (TCU), which will allow a greater number of patients to be treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“Freeman has better positioned itself to care for a larger number of the critically ill or injured,” said Paula Baker, Freeman Chief Clinical Officer. “More patients will receive treatment right here in Joplin. At a time when this community is at its greatest need, Freeman has responded.”

TCU will expand the number of beds for ICU patients by providing a space for those who are still too ill for the medical floor but whose conditions are not severe enough for the 1:2 nurse-to-patient ratio present in the ICU. In the past, those patients would have spent more time in the ICU instead of moving directly to the medical floor.
“From this point forward, those lower acuity critical care patients who have met a strict standard of criteria will be treated in Freeman TCU,” said Jeff Carrier, Freeman Chief Nursing Officer.

The TCU, which will officially open July 18, will staff a team of three nurses assigned to care for a maximum of 12 patients. Not only will the addition of the TCU better position Freeman to take on more critical patients and better meet the healthcare needs of Joplin, the new unit will provide an economic boost to the community through the hiring of 31 new employees. Leading this team is Allen Overturf, Freeman Critical Care and Cardiology Director.

“For 89 years, it has been an honor for Freeman to serve the Four States,” said Baker. “As this community rises from the rubble, Freeman will continue to adjust and change to meet Joplin’s needs.”

About Freeman Health System
Not-for-profit, community-owned, and locally governed, Freeman Health System is a 407-bed, three-hospital system. Based in Joplin, the fourth largest metropolitan area in Missouri, Freeman provides comprehensive healthcare and behavioral health services to an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. For more information, visit or Follow Gary Duncan, Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer, at