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Freeman Health System announces plan to open SEK hospital

If you live in Southeast Kansas and are not satisfied with the available options for medical care, you’re in luck.

Freeman Health Systems announced on Wednesday they are opening Freeman Southeast Kansas Hospital on E. 600 Avenue in Frontenac, just north of the Camptown Greyhound Park.

“This is a very exciting day for Freeman Health System as we announce the site for the new Southeast Kansas Hospital,” Paula Baker, Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer, told NewsTalk KZRG. “We have been planning this for quite a long time now. It is very exciting to see the interested people here today who share our excitement about the new hospital.”

The hospital plans to be nearly 170,000 feet in size with 50 beds. It will also include an emergency department, cardiac services, an intensive care unit, maternity, pediatrics, outpatient/inpatient surgery—including robotic procedures—as well as medical and radiation oncology among other services. 

“This hospital is designed to serve the residents all throughout the communities of Southeast Kansas,” Baker said. “We are very close in proximity to Pittsburg and to the smaller communities all around.

“This is an optimal location for us because it is located centrally for many of the communities in Southeast Kansas to take advantage of. We have good highway access right off the bypass, which can be difficult to obtain. We feel that everything came together to make this a very ideal location.”

The process of getting construction underway has already started but no groundbreaking has been scheduled yet, and it can’t open soon enough as many of the local rural hospitals are closing up shop or lack all the amenities of what Freeman will offer.

“I think that it is particularly important that we begin the construction of this hospital,” Baker said. “Sadly, many rural hospitals are closing and that leaves other communities vulnerable and at risk. So, the fact that we will have this one located centrally in Southeast Kansas, is going to save lives and enhance the lives of Southeast Kansans.”

And of course, the addition of the Freeman Southeast Kansas Hospital will also help the local economy, projecting to provide 500-1,000 new jobs to the area.

There are also plans for medical students on site.

“We plan on having medical students at the new hospital here,” Baker said. “That will be a wonderful training ground for the next generation of physicians. But, it’s also very advantageous for Southeast Kansas. When a medical student or resident gets embedded in a community, they often times will stay. And that will help bring qualified physicians to an underserved area.”

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