Our History

Heart of a Community: The Story of Freeman Health System
An Ozarks Public Television Production



Timeline of Freeman History

Founded on trust

1922
John W. Freeman donated his family home, located at 2008 Sergeant in Joplin, as the site for the first Freeman Hospital in honor of their late son Orley.

1925
After a 75-bed addition was added to the original home, Freeman Hospital opened its doors to patients, with a staff of 19 nurses and five physicians and surgeons.

Strengthened through Innovation

1958
A state-of the art addition opened south of the hospital, complete a with six-room operating suite, air conditioned labor and delivery rooms, and 18-bed nursing home on the fifth floor.

1975
Freeman Hospital moved to the outskirts of Joplin on a tract of land donated by Joplin businessman Myron McIntosh. The location at 1102 West 32nd Street (now Freeman West), provided room for much-needed growth and future expansion as well.

1993
Freeman acquired Sale Memorial Hospital (now known as Freeman Neosho Hospital), extending its service to the residents of Newton and McDonald counties in southwest Missouri.

1995
Freeman merged with Oak Hill (now Freeman East) to become Freeman Health System.

1996
Ozark Center, the area's largest behavioral health provider, joined Freeman Health System, increasing patient access to mental healthcare.

1997
Through a partnership with KSNF-TV 16, Freeman First Alert Doppler radar saves lives by providing early and accurate warnings of potentially dangerous storms.

1998
Ronald McDonald celebrated the grand opening of Ronald McDonald House of the Four States on land donated by Freeman Health System.

1999
Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute opened, bringing a unique concept in heart care to the region. It houses all facets of cardiovascular care in one location, making care more convenient and accessible to patients.

2000
Freeman became the first healthcare system in Missouri and the sixth in the nation to earn ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9002 registration in December 2000.

2001
The Joplin Family Y South and Freeman Wellness Center open on property owned by Freeman Health System.

2001
Freeman Cancer Institute opens, providing the region with comprehensive cancer care including diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle management. It features some of the most advanced cancer-fighting tools and therapies available.

2003
Freeman achieved ISO 9001:2000 registration, the most widely recognized mark of quality in the business world today.

Built around your needs

2007
Freeman opened the largest expansion project in its history, a six-story wing that added 56 private patient rooms and tripled the size of the emergency/trauma center.

Ozark Center for Autism, developed in consultation with the Cleveland Clinic Autism Consulting Group, opens an applied behavior analysis program for preschool children with autism.

2008
Freeman Women's Center opens, offering comprehensive women's services under one roof. The center includes offices for a high-risk pregnancy physician, gynecologists, and obstetricians; Wes & Jan Houser Women's Pavilion; and Pink Door Boutique.

2009
Freeman Center for Geriatric Medicine opens with two geriatricians, physicians who care for older patients by helping them address mobility and medication issues and connecting them with medical specialists, social services, and community resources when needed.

Freeman West becomes the only hospital in 60-mile radius to offer the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, designed to provide specialized help for victims of sexual assault.

Freeman earns ISO 9001:2008 registration.

2010
Freeman Surgical Center opens, providing state-of-the art technology, convenience, and amenities for patients needing outpatient procedures.

Ozark Center for Autism establishes Special Education Center to offer specialized training to students from prekindergarten through 12th grade.

2011
The Autism Diagnostic Team begins evaluations in January 2011 at Ozark Center for Autism. Previously, families had to travel great distances to receive diagnostic services for children with autism spectrum disorders.

Thanks to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Freeman neonatal intensive care unit underwent a $1.3 million expansion and renovation. In May 2011, the expansion included the addition of 10 new beds and provided new equipment and technology, allowing more treatment for premature and critically ill babies, giving them every opportunity for a healthy life.

On May 22, 2011, a devastating EF5 multi-vortex tornado struck Joplin, taking 161 lives, injuring hundreds, and destroying roughly 8,000 structures. In the hours and days following the storm, Freeman physicians and nurses worked tirelessly to treat more than 1,700 patients, providing the best healthcare possible in the aftermath of the disaster.

Responding to our community's needs after the tornado, Freeman established a 12-bed Transitional Care Unit for patients who are still too ill for the medical floor but have progressed to the point that they no longer need the level of care provided in the Intensive Care Unit.

In July 2011, Freeman Center for Digestive Health, the largest digestive health service provider in the region, opened for business. The center provides a wide variety of treatments and services for patients with gastrointestinal conditions.

Freeman Health Academy, the first program of its kind in our community, begins. The program gives youths the opportunity to learn about employment opportunities in healthcare, and seeks to make healthcare careers more obtainable for students by helping them make the right high school class choices and encouraging them to graduate from high school.

Freeman Neosho Women’s Pavilion opened its doors in November 2011, providing Neosho residents with digital mammography and bone densitometry.

2012

Will’s Place opened in January 2012 to provide comprehensive behavioral health services to children ages 2-18.

In early 2012, 20 new adult psychiatric beds opened at Freeman East to meet an increased need for psychiatric care.

The 5th floor of Gary & Donna Hall Tower at Freeman West opened in March 2012, adding 29 private patient rooms with advanced medical capabilities.

In March 2012, Freeman Rehabilitation & Sports Center opened. The center provides comprehensive therapy services including physical, occupational, speech, hand, aquatic, and lymphedema therapies, as well as sports performance evaluations.

On May 22, 2012, we celebrated the lives of tornado survivors, honored the memory of victims, and paid tribute to the heroic efforts of Freeman employees and other caregivers during our Morning Has Broken memorial service.

The 6th floor of Gary & Donna Hall Tower at Freeman West, dedicated to patients needing critical care services, opened in October 2012.

2013

In March 2013, Ozark Center officially opened a second Pre-Adult Transitional Housing (PATH) apartment complex, a new residence to homeless youth in need of long-term housing, as well as assistance developing essential life skills.

On March 27, 2013, Freeman physicians, nurses, and staff unveiled and dedicated the Beacon of Hope Tornado Memorial. The memorial was constructed to pay tribute to those who survived the storm, those who were lost in the storm, and those who fought to save our community.

Freeman West opened its newly transformed cafeteria, kitchen, and servery in June 2013. Throughout the 14-month construction process, Freeman West continued to serve 1,000 meals daily, thanks to a temporary kitchen set up in mobile units outside the building.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Freeman as number one in southwest Missouri and number four in the state for a second consecutive year. In addition, Freeman received special designation in seven high-performing specialties.

In 2013, Freeman was awarded a "Grow Your Own" grant from the Missouri Hospital Association. The $50,000 grant was used to expand Freeman Health Academy to serve students ages 10-12.