Freeman News

EagleMed Unveils New Freeman Helicopter

October 14, 2015

Freeman Health System enhances its ability to provide quality, life-saving emergency transportation services by unveiling a new helicopter with state-of-the-art technology.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Freeman Health System enhances its ability to provide quality, life-saving emergency transportation services by unveiling a new helicopter with state-of-the-art technology. Patients with traumatic injuries or conditions like heart attack or stroke require rapid transport to the hospital, and every second counts. 

“Helicopters are a crucial part of emergency care,” said Paula Baker, Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer. “A helicopter can unwind roads and fly over obstacles. Helicopters don’t get stuck in traffic.”

Freeman has partnered with EagleMed for emergency air transportation since 2003. The new helicopter, an Airbus AS350B2 has a cruising speed of 135 mph and a range of two hours flight time or 200 miles. New technology includes a “glass cockpit” that features touch-screen flight instrument displays, rather than traditional dials and gauges. The Airbus is also night-vision compliant, increasing safety for crew members in the helicopter and first responders on the ground. Training on the new equipment took three weeks. 

Communication between Freeman emergency room doctors and EagleMed crew members is critical during emergencies. While crews stabilize a patient in the field, doctors and nurses inside the Freeman emergency room prepare for life-saving interventions or surgery. “These helicopters are flying intensive care units,” said Baker. “They enable us to begin life-saving care before the patient reaches the hospital.”

The cost of a flight from Grove, Okla., to Joplin, Mo. – for example – can range from $25,000 to $30,000. Most insurance companies cover a portion, but the rest is up to the patient. EagleMed created a membership program in 2003. For as little as $65/year, members incur no out-of-pocket expense after insurance for air ambulance transport by EagleMed, and Freeman Advantage members qualify for a discount on this membership program.

Freeman Hospital West has two main helipads located outside Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute and one hot off-load helipad over the ambulance bay with direct elevator access to state-of-the-art emergency room trauma bays. EagleMed air ambulance also provides emergency transport services to and from Freeman Neosho Hospital. 

Freeman Health System – Celebrating 90 Years of Service
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 2014, Freeman earned 90 individual awards for medical excellence and safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report ranked Freeman #1 Hospital in Southwest Missouri in 2014-15, and The Leapfrog Group gave Freeman the highest grade possible in the Fall 2014 Hospital Safety Score. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 60 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart and vascular 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 or or follow Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker at #FreemanTurns90