Freeman Featured in Worldwide COVID-19 Response Recognition

International Hospital Federation Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19 Program

(Joplin, MO) Freeman Health System is one of just 102 hospitals from 27 countries around the world being honored by the International Hospital Federation’s (IHF) Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19 program. 

Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker received the recognition badge after a thorough review by an international committee consisting of 16 healthcare industry experts.

“We are grateful for the recognition of the efforts of our staff,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker. “Freeman Health System went beyond the call of duty at the beginning of the pandemic by not only treating patients, but by also proactively preparing for potential spikes in cases, taking a leadership role in COVID response in the community and keeping the community informed and educated through daily and weekly press briefings.”

In these briefings, Freeman provided education about everything from COVID diagnosis and treatment to the necessity of mask-wearing. The health system posted each briefing to social media, and local media attended each and every briefing, bringing this messaging to not only the city of Joplin but also to 30 surrounding counties across southeast Kansas, southwest Missouri, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas.

“Freeman collaborated with the local health department and another area hospital to create the COVID call center and drive-thru test site and continues to solely operate these with expanded hours as cases in our region increased greatly in number,” Baker said.

IHF Chief Executive Officer Ronald Lavater said the outstanding work in response to the pandemic is transforming the future of healthcare.

“One of our motivations in creating this recognition program is to highlight the diversity and agility of the hospital industry in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lavater. “The pandemic forced hospitals to develop, implement and adopt new ways to operate and many of these changes have accelerated positive transformation in the delivery of care.”

Freeman’s response to the pandemic has made the health system better prepared to offer a high quality of care to patients with complex illnesses or patients who need to be quarantined during their treatment.

“Freeman’s efforts to expand telehealth access to our community will continue to benefit the community,” said Baker. “Through the pandemic, telehealth is protecting healthy people from potential COVID exposure while enabling them to keep their routine appointments and stay on top of their health and any chronic conditions they may have.”

Even after the pandemic passes, telehealth will continue to make it easier for time-strapped patients to access routine healthcare, especially for patients living in rural areas, who often have to drive an hour or more to see their healthcare provider. In this way, the telehealth efforts from the pandemic will continue to improve the health of our community for years to come.

The International Hospital Federation’s Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19 Program is sponsored by the Ashikaga – Nikken Group and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA).

The full list of recognized hospitals announced December 15 can be found here:

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


Lisa Olliges, Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System

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