Our History

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Our History

Freeman celebrates 90th anniversary

John W. Freeman performed a great community service when he donated his family home as the site for a new hospital in honor of his late son Orley in 1922. Three years later, after the addition of a 75-bed annex, Freeman Hospital opened its doors with a staff of 19 nurses and five doctors. Since then, Freeman has grown to become the area’s largest employer and one of the community’s best corporate partners. The health system now includes a staff of more than 300 doctors, three hospitals, specialty clinics, a heart and vascular institute, a cancer institute, a neurospine center, a comprehensive behavioral health center, a thriving auxiliary and more. John W. Freeman committed a generous act – an act that has allowed Freeman to continue that tradition of generosity by bringing life-saving and life-changing healthcare to the four-state area for the past 90 years.

Timeline of Freeman History

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

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

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 Hospital West) provided room for much-needed growth and future expansion as well. 
In 1977, Freeman became the first hospital to use ultrasound in diagnostic services and nuclear medicine.

Freeman completed a $12.5 million expansion in 1986, increasing the hospital capacity to a 175-bed facility.
In 1987, Children's Miracle Network began at Freeman to raise funds for local sick and injured children.


Freeman acquired Sale Memorial Hospital (now Freeman Neosho Hospital), extending its service to the residents of Newton and McDonald counties in southwestern Missouri
Ozark Center, the area's largest behavioral health provider, joined Freeman Health System, increasing patient access to mental healthcare.

Through a partnership with KSN-TV 16, Freeman First Alert Doppler radar went live to save lives by providing early and accurate warnings of potentially dangerous storms. 
Ronald McDonald celebrated the grand opening of Ronald McDonald House of the Four States on land donated by Freeman. 

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. 
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. 

The Joplin Family Y South and Freeman Wellness Center open on property owned by Freeman Health System. 
Freeman Cancer Institute opened, providing the region with comprehensive cancer care including diagnosis, treatment and lifestyle management and featuring some of the most advanced cancer-fighting tools and therapies available. 

Freeman achieved ISO 9001:2000 registration, the most widely recognized mark of quality in the business world today. 
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.
Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, developed in consultation with the Cleveland Clinic Autism Consulting Group, opened an applied behavior analysis (ABA) program for preschool children with autism. 

Freeman Women's Center opened, 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.
Freeman Center for Geriatric Medicine opened 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 Hospital West became the only hospital in 60-mile radius to offer the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, designed to provide comprehensive, specialized help for victims of sexual assault.

Freeman earned ISO 9001:2008 registration.

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

Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism establishes Special Education Center to offer specialized training to students from prekindergarten through 12th grade.
The Autism Diagnostic Team began evaluations in January 2011 at Bill & Virginia Leffen 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 (NICU) 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 EF-5 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 the 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 ICU. 
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, began. The program gives youths the opportunity to learn about employment opportunities in healthcare.
Freeman Neosho Women’s Pavilion opened its doors in November 2011, providing Neosho residents with digital mammography and bone densitometry services.

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 Hospital East to meet an increased need for psychiatric care. 

The 5th floor of Gary & Donna Hall Tower at Freeman Hospital 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, Freeman 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 the Morning Has Broken memorial service.

The 6th floor of Gary & Donna Hall Tower at Freeman Hospital West, dedicated to patients needing critical care services, opened in October 2012.
In March 2013, Ozark Center officially opened a second Pre-Adult Transitional Housing (PATH) apartment complex, a new residence for 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 the community.
Freeman Hospital West opened its newly transformed cafeteria, kitchen and servery in June 2013. Throughout the 14-month construction process, Freeman Hospital 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 southwestern Missouri and number four in the state for a second consecutive year. In addition, Freeman received special designation in seven high-performing specialties. 
In July 2013, Freeman established a cardiology clinic in Miami, Oklahoma.

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.
Arkansas Autism Connection was developed in 2013 by Freeman and Ozark Center in consultation with the Cleveland Clinic Autism Consulting Group to provides clients with ABA, a behaviorally based autism treatment. 

Freeman announced it affiliated with Children’s Kansas City to enhance care for children in southwestern Missouri in January 2014. As part of this collaboration, Children’s Kansas City opened a permanent office with seven specialty clinics, on the Freeman Hospital West campus.

Freeman Ambulance Service is celebrated its tenth year of operation in May 2014.

Freeman received the 2014 Truven Health Advantage Award for Overall Performance and the Truven Performance Efficiency Award, both of which recognize hospitals, health plans, government agencies and employers that use data analytics to improve quality of services. 

In July 2014, Freeman Health System expanded its nationally recognized cardiac care to the Grove, Oklahoma area.

CareChex® awarded a multitude of service lines across Freeman Health System with top rankings at the national, state, regional and local levels based on medical excellence and patient safety.

In September 2014, Carl Junction Schools and Freeman announced a partnership to provide a comprehensive school-based health program for students and staff. 

March of Dimes recognized Freeman for having zero elective early inductions or Cesarean deliveries performed before the 39th week of pregnancy.

Freeman received recognition for its commitment to patient safety from The Leapfrog Group. Leapfrog awarded Freeman an A grade in the Fall 2014 Hospital Safety Score, acknowledging Freeman’s success in protecting patients from errors, injuries and infections. Freeman was the only hospital in southwestern Missouri to earn an A and one of 11 hospitals in the state to receive the top rating.

Freeman announced in December it had acquired the top-of-class TrueBeam linear accelerator – an innovative piece of technology that enables doctors to use a radically different approach to treating cancer with image-guided radiotherapy.

In March, The Neosho R-5 School District announced a partnership with Freeman Neosho Physicians Group to provide healthcare to students and faculty in an easily accessible venue. The partnership provides a timely, convenient means for parents to obtain care for their child.
Freeman Health System joined forces with Pittsburg State University (PSU) in April 2015 to become the university's official sports medicine and rehabilitation partner.
A $3 million gift from the Cornell-Beshore family enabled Freeman to improve cancer treatment facilities and upgrade technologies to benefit patients with cancer. In honor of this gift, Freeman changed the name of Freeman Cancer Institute to Cornell-Beshore Cancer institute.
Freeman was designated a Level II Stroke Center by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in July. Freeman was the first and only hospital in the area to earn this distinction.