Freeman Health System to Take Over Emergency Department in Fort Scott

(Fort Scott, KS)Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker brought cheers — and some tears — to a gathering of 100-plus Fort Scott, Kansas residents when she announced the region’s largest provider of health care services would be taking over operations of the community’s emergency department at the city’s former hospital while establishing 10 inpatient beds in the building.

“I love your enthusiasm because we’re very enthused about it as well,” Baker said, responding to several rounds of applause and a prolonged cheer when she announced the establishment of the 10-bed hospital. After the ceremony, she was embraced by several Fort Scott residents, some of them in tears.

“At Freeman Hospital, we strongly believe — in fact, we know — that every community needs and deserves quality medical care,” Baker continued. “Without it, every resident of the area is vulnerable when there is a sudden illness, injury or accident.”

Fort Scott, a community of roughly 7,600 residents and the county seat of Bourbon County, has been without a hospital since 2018. The hospital’s emergency department stayed open until it, too, closed last December, forcing residents to seek medical treatment 30 minutes away in Pittsburg or across the state line in Nevada, Missouri.

“Sadly, this community has been without this level of care since the beginning of 2024 and this is simply not acceptable,” Baker said, drawing a round of applause.

The emergency department will consist of six bays, with 365-day, 24/7 coverage, by licensed physicians and nurses that are specifically trained in emergency medicine. Support for the emergency department includes laboratory, radiology, computerized tomography and an inpatient pharmacy. Opportunities to have outpatient lab, radiology and CT services will also be available to the community from the hospital, located at 401 Woodland Hills Boulevard.

“Our plan is to begin these services as soon as possible — we must go through a state and federal survey and achieve licensure, but we are very confident in our ability to meet those requirements,” Baker said. “Our projection is that everything will be in place and operational by April 1, 2025.”

Freeman already has an existing footprint in Southeast Kansas, with a planned 50-bed hospital to be built in Pittsburg, as well as primary care clinics, an outpatient surgery center and medical oncology program already established there.

“I want to reiterate how exciting this new presence in Fort Scott is to all of us here at Freeman,” Baker said. “We are committed to providing quality, innovative care to Southeast Kansas and we are honored to be a part of your beautiful city and county.”

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 2020, 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 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 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


Kevin McClintock, Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System

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