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Freeman Health System Opens Floor in Joplin Hospital

Many people heard about the destruction of Mercy Hospital in Joplin during the tornado last May. Mercy is now operating out of an interim location while a new full-scale hospital is being built in a new location. The other major hospital in town, Freeman Health System, has had to expand its services to meet the needs of the community. KSMU’s Brittany Donnellan reports.

After the May tornado in Joplin, Freeman Hospital found itself as the only standing hospital in town and had to respond to an increased need for medical services. April Bennett, Assistant Director of the Cardiac Medical Unit at Freeman, says the hospital has seen a 20-percent increase in daily patients since the disaster.

“With that increase, we wanted to be able to do whatever we could to better serve the needs of our community,” Bennett said.

Bennett says that just a few days after the tornado, construction plans began for the opening of the fifth and sixth floors of the hospital. The fifth floor was just opened and provides new beds for cardiac and medical patients. The sixth floor is scheduled to open in October. Bennett says the hospital is working on many other expansion projects throughout the region.

“We’ve already shown just the dedication to our community by starting and initiating ten construction projects in less than a year just in response to the tornado. I know they have many more plans for the future to do some remodeling and future construction projects just to better serve the needs of our community during this time,” Bennett said.

In the meantime, work continues in Joplin on the new Mercy Hospital. It’s set to open in the next three years. Currently, Mercy operates out of a component hospital that opened its doors last Sunday.

For KSMU News, I’m Brittany Donnellan.