Freeman News

Freeman Finalist for 2019 Foster G. McGaw Prize

March 06, 2020

Finalists from Massachusetts, Texas and Ohio are also Honored

JOPLIN, Mo – Freeman Health System is one of four hospitals in the nation to be acknowledged for its ongoing efforts to improve the health and well-being of everyone in its communities. The award if the Foster G. McGaw Prize, which uniquely shows the relationship between a hospital and its community, was founded by the Baxter Allegiance Foundation and the American Hospital Association in 1986.  

 “We are honored to be among the four finalists for actively measuring and prioritizing the health needs of the communities we serve,” says Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker.  “From our frontline staff and volunteers, to the senior executives and board, we are passionate in our commitment to ‘walk-the-talk’ as ambassadors for community partnerships that yield measurable health gains and superior healthcare.”

The goal of the Prize program is to publicize the innovative ways in which all the finalist healthcare organizations serve their communities to enhance community wellness.  Based on its annual community health needs assessments, Freeman Health System was recognized for its community service and innovation in a number of areas, including the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, the Heart and Vascular Institute, the Screen Team and Behavioral Health Services. The health system will receive $10,000 toward programs that further these goals.

“These five services and programs are just a few of the ways Freeman continues to coordinate initiatives for community well-being, health protection and promotion that extend beyond excellent clinical care,” says Baker. “We are so honored that the American Hospital Association has recognized our community health improvement model as a way to improve health and well-being of a community like ours.”

Paula Baker will receive an award and recognition at the annual meeting of the American Hospital Association in Washington, DC on April 25.




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 Foster G. McGaw

Foster G. McGaw was born on March 7, 1897, the son of Reverend Francis Alexander McGaw and Alice S. (Millar) McGaw. He attended the Northwestern University School of Commerce.

In 1922, Mr. McGaw founded the American Hospital Supply Corporation. By establishing strict ethical guidelines for selling to hospitals and insisting on a high level of quality and service, Mr. McGaw shaped the hospital supply industry and helped create the standards under which it operates today. In 1985, American Hospital Supply Corporation merged with Baxter International, Inc.

Mr. McGaw has received numerous awards, citations, and honorary degrees. He is renowned for his philanthropic activities, including major gifts to establish the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University and the McGaw Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center, both in the Chicago area, and the James D. Vail III Nursing Program at Queens College in Charlotte, NC.

American Hospital Association

The American Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations that are committed to health improvement in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care. Founded in 1898, AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA web site at

Baxter and the Baxter International Foundation

Baxter and the Baxter International Foundation are committed to saving and sustaining lives. Every day, Baxter employees strive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who depend on Baxter products, and in the communities where employees live and work. The company focuses on advancing three core areas: improving access to healthcare; fostering tomorrow’s innovation and serving its communities. Baxter works closely with public and private partners around the world to ensure people have access to the healthcare they need, to develop the next generation of innovators who will lead the way in advancing care, and to create long-lasting impact in Baxter’s communities. The Baxter International Foundation supports initiatives and organizations that make a positive, lasting impact on increasing access to healthcare for the disadvantaged and underserved.