Freeman News

Freeman Controller Earns Fellowship Designation

July 23, 2020

Michael Sanders Awarded Healthcare Financial Management Association Distinction

Joplin, MO – Freeman Health System Controller Michael Sanders is joining a somewhat elite group. Earning fellowship designation (FHFMA) from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), he joins just over 1,700 HFMA members nationwide who have achieved this accomplishment.

“The FHFMA designation is important to me because I want my co-workers at Freeman and colleagues in healthcare finance to know that I am committed to healthcare finance and to improving myself, as well as improving the industry,” says Sanders.

As controller, Sanders is responsible for the financial books and records of the hospital. “At Freeman, I have a few departments that I manage including Accounting, Decision Support and the Supply Chain (Central Service, Materials Management, Purchasing and Printing/Duplicating). In addition to managing those departments, I am also primarily responsible for our treasury and insurance contracts, and I serve on several internal committees,” Sanders says.

The acronyms at the end of his name may resemble alphabet soup – CPA, CHFP, CSAF, CRCR and CSMC – but Sanders says this new one means more.

“I started a personal campaign about a year ago to study and try to obtain several certifications offered by HFMA. Largely to improve myself personally, but also to show my support and commitment to Freeman and to HFMA,” Sanders explained,

In the last year, he’s been able to receive four other designations. Those include certified healthcare financial professional (CHFP), certified specialist accounting and finance (CSAF), certified revenue cycle representative (CRCR) and certified specialist managed care (CSMC).

“I figured all this extra time and effort outside of my normal work hours would help improve my knowledge and expertise for everything I do during work hours,” Sanders says. “In my mind, this FHFMA designation eclipses all the others, because it’s speaks to my commitment and expertise in the industry. I still have my eyes set on a couple more designations, but they take time.”

The FHFMA distinction requires applicants to be credentialed as a CHFP, be an HFMA member five years, complete a bachelor’s degree or 120 college hours and volunteer in HFMA or the healthcare industry. The distinction can be likened to a lifetime achievement award for those in healthcare finance.  


“The FHFMA designation recognizes leaders who are ambassadors to the healthcare finance profession and raises the standard of practice through participation in professional development and service to the healthcare finance industry,” Sanders says. “I was really proud and excited when I received the notification after going through the application process.”




About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2019, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2019. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 70 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit