Freeman News

Freeman Earns Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

August 13, 2020

American Heart Association Award Recognizes Freeman’s Commitment to Quality Stroke Care

Joplin, MO – Olympic athletes, training to win a gold medal, work to hone their skills to perfection. The same goal exists for those working to deliver the best care in the fastest way possible to stroke victims. To that end, Freeman Health System has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s 2020 Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. It’s a move up from the 2019 Get With The Guidelines Stroke Silver Plus achievement award Freeman received.

The current award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

“Freeman is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines – Stroke initiative,” says Paula Baker, Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

Freeman earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“It’s care that starts in the emergency department and continues through the health system, including radiology, pharmacy and Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute,” says Baker. “I’m proud of the teamwork, professionalism and dedication demonstrated by our staff across the board. Those attributes result in better outcomes for our patients.”

Freeman also received the American Heart Association’s Target: Type 2 Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures with more than 90% compliance for 12 consecutive months.

“We are pleased to recognize Freeman Health System for its commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, national chairperson of the quality oversight committee, executive vice chair of neurology and director of acute stroke services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.



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


About Get With The Guidelines®

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 9 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit