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Health Resources

School Health Clinics

Freeman Health System has partnered with local schools to keep students healthy. School health clinics provide an optimal setting to foster learning readiness and academic achievement while helping to meet the healthcare needs of students. Students and staff have telehealth and priority scheduling available, and immediate access to a nurse practitioner or physician. Prompt treatment will allow students and staff to return to the classroom as quickly as possible. Click here to learn more about our school health clinics.


School-Based Medicine

Our school-based telemedicine program is designed to bring the expertise of Freeman Health System’s primary care providers to schools throughout our area. If a student, faculty or staff member is at school and becomes ill, getting quick treatment is the main priority. Click here to learn more about our school-based medicine services.


Health e-Library

Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric Surgery
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Community Resource Directory

This extensive directory is a guide to a wide variety of community services. It includes local resources in the areas served by Freeman Health System, as well as relevant state and national resources. The directory is continually updated, and any new resources, edits or corrections should be directed to


Tests and Procedures

    What is atherectomy?

    Atherectomy is the removal of arterial plaque.

    What are the four types of atherectomy?

    • Laser atherectomy: Commonly used to remove enough plaque to allow for balloon angioplasty.
    • Rotational atherectomy: Used to treat arteries with very long, calcified, or solid blockages. This technique can also remove plaque that has regrown inside a stent.
    • Directional atherectomy: Employs a catheter tipped with a device consisting of a cup-shaped blade and a container. This blade cuts away plaque from the artery and deposits it into the container for removal from the body.
    • Transluminal extraction: Involves a special catheter tipped with a hollow tube and rotating blades. As the blades cut plaque away from the arterial wall, the debris is suctioned out of the body through the tube.


    What are the risks associated with this procedure?

    The risks can include artery perforation, cardiac arrhythmias, vascular spasm, or vapor bubbles that can damage artery walls.

    What is balloon angioplasty?

    Angioplasty is a medical procedure in which a balloon is used to open narrowed or blocked arteries. It is not considered to be a type of surgery.

    How is the procedure performed?

    The procedure starts with the patient lying on a padded table. Local anesthesia is given and the catheters are then inserted in an artery (usually near the groin). The patient is awake for the procedure, but pain medicine can be given as needed.

    The heart and arteries are visualized by using x-rays and dye, and blockages in the vessels are identified. A balloon catheter is inserted in the area of blockage and inflated, thus widening or opening the blocked vessel and restoring adequate blood flow. In almost all cases, a device called a stent is also placed at the site of narrowing or blockage in order to keep the artery open.

    How long does the procedure take?

    The procedure itself takes 20-30 minutes. Following angioplasty, it is necessary to stay in bed for four to six hours to allow for adequate healing of the puncture site.

    Is the test safe?

    The test is 99.7% safe. Risks could include allergic reaction to the x-ray dye, bleeding in the catheter access site, damage to a valve or blood vessel, or infection.

    What are cardiac enzymes?

    During a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, damaged heart tissue releases specific proteins called cardiac enzymes. One way to diagnose or confirm a recent heart attack is to test a person’s blood for increased levels of these enzymes.

    Why are enzyme studies done?

    Studies detect a heart attack in progress or a threatened heart attack, diagnose injury to the heart muscle, and detect the reestablishment of blood flow through a blocked coronary artery after angiography or treatment using a clot-dissolving medication.

    How do I prepare for this test?

    No special preparation is required before having this test.

    How is the enzyme study done?

    The person drawing blood wraps an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood through the veins of your arm, cleans the needle site with alcohol, inserts the needle, and attaches a collection tube to the needle. When enough blood has been collected, the band around your arm will be removed.

    These tests are often repeated over several hours for comparison, usually drawn every 8-12 hours for 1-2 days after a suspected heart attack.

    Is the test painful?

    You may feel nothing at all from the needle or you may feel a brief sting as the needle goes through the skin. The amount of pain depends on the condition of the veins and your sensitivity to pain.

    What are the risks of the test?

    There is very little risk of complications from having blood drawn from a vein. You may develop a small bruise at the puncture site.

    When will I receive my test results?

    Your tests will be evaluated and a report will be sent to your doctor. Your doctor will then contact you concerning the report.

    What is a cardiac/exercise stress test?

    A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test, helps a doctor find out how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen so the heart must pump more blood. The test can show if the blood supply is reduced in the arteries that supply the heart. It also helps the doctor know the type and level of exercise appropriate for the patient.

    How do I prepare for the test?

    Do not eat, drink or smoke for 4 hours before the test. Wear loose clothes suitable for exercise, such as lightweight pants or shorts and a shirt. Wear socks and footwear with rubber soles, such as walking, jogging or tennis shoes.

    How is the test performed?

    We will ask you take off your shirt so we can apply electrodes to your chest to monitor your heart. Then we will ask you to walk slowly on a motorized treadmill. We will increase the speed and tilt the treadmill to produce the effect of going up a small hill. (Your doctor may decide to have you use a stationary bicycle for the test.)

    After the test, you will sit or lie down to have your heart and blood pressure checked.

    Is the test safe?

    It’s similar to quickly walking or jogging up a big hill. Healthy people face very little risk from the test. Medical professionals are always present in case something unusual happens during the test.

    When will I receive my test results?

    Your doctor will be present and will discuss the results with you before you leave.

    What is a CT, or CAT, scan?
    A CT scan looks inside your body with a special camera. It produces cross-sectional images, like the slices in a loaf of bread. During a CT exam, the scanner takes multiple crosssectional pictures of you. These images are created with the help of a computer and are capable of depicting various internal body parts in much greater detail than standard x-ray pictures. This study greatly enhances the doctor’s ability to diagnose a medical condition.

    How does CT work?
    The CT scanner contains a large donut-shaped ring that your body slowly passes through on a moveable table. As you pass through the ring, the scanner takes a complete 360-degree picture that is sent to a computer. Then the mechanical table moves a small distance, less than half an inch, positioning you for the next picture. The computer then reconstructs these pictures to form a complete image of your internal anatomy. To make a clearer picture of certain parts of your body, some CT scans require the use of contrast materials, substances that show up as pure white on the X-ray. Contrast materials used include barium, which you usually drink, and iodine, which is usually injected through an IV.

    When would I need a CT scan?
    A CT scan is most commonly used for cancer detection, to look for abnormal masses that might be malignant tumors. CT scans can show the size and shape of a tumor, its precise location in the body, and whether it is solid or hollow. Sometimes a CT scan can show if a tumor is a benign or malignant, or noncancerous or cancerous. When a needle biopsy is performed for cancer diagnosis, CT scanning can also be used to guide the insertion of the biopsy needle into precisely the right location for sampling a tumor.

    In addition to cancer detection, CT scans have many other uses including detecting abscesses, strokes, head injuries, and bleeding inside the skull. It is also used to evaluate trauma patients for internal injuries to the chest and abdomen.

    Is the test painful?
    The test is completely painless. We will ask you to lie quietly on the CT scanner’s “patient couch” during the study. Because the contrast agents contain iodine, which can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals, be sure to tell the technologist, nurse, or radiologist if you have had an allergic reaction to these agents or if you have any other allergies. You may have been given contrast material as part of a CT scan, kidney x-ray, also called IVP, or heart/blood vessel catheterization, also called an angiogram.

    What preparation is required for the test?
    We will ask you to change into a hospital gown for some procedures. Metal objects can affect the images, so avoid clothing with zippers and snaps. You may need to remove hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and any removable dental work that could obscure the images. You may also be asked to refrain from eating or drinking anything for 4 hours before the exam. Women should always inform their doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility they are pregnant.

    What restrictions or special instructions following the test?
    Most patients can return to normal activities immediately following the scan.

    When will I receive my test results?
    A radiologist, a medical doctor specializing in reading x-rays, will review your scans, generate a report, and send it to your doctor. The technologist performing the exam cannot give you any results. Your doctor should receive a report in 3-4 working days.

    What is an echocardiogram?

    An echocardiogram is a test in which ultrasound is used to examine the heart. The test allows accurate measurement of the heart chambers and is capable of displaying a cross-sectional “slice” of the beating heart including the chambers, valves, and the major blood vessels that exit from the left and right ventricle.

    How do I prepare for the test?

    No special preparation is necessary for the test.

    How is the echocardiogram performed?

    We will ask you to undress from the waist up and give you a gown or sheet to keep you comfortable. You will then lie on an examination table or a hospital bed.

    Sticky patches or electrodes are attached to the chest and shoulders and connected to wires. A colorless gel is then applied to the chest and the echo transducer, a microphone-shaped device, is placed on top of it. The technologist makes recordings from different parts of the chest to obtain several views of the heart. You may be asked to move from your back on to your side. Instructions may also be given for you to breathe slowly or hold your breath. This helps obtain higher quality pictures. The images are constantly viewed on the monitor. The echocardiogram is also recorded on paper and on videotape.

    Is the test safe?

    The test is extremely safe. There are no known risks from the clinical use of ultrasound during this type of testing.

    How long does the test take?

    A routine test takes 15-20 minutes. The additional use of Doppler may add an additional 10-20 minutes. However, it may take up to an hour for patients with conditions such as lung disease, obesity, restlessness, or significant shortness of breath.

    When will I receive the test results?

    If a doctor is present during the test or reviews it while you are still in the office, you may get the results before you leave. If the doctor is not present during the test, you may have to wait a couple of days before the physician reviews the results.

    What is an EKG?

    An EKG is an electrical picture of your heart. It helps your doctor determine the rate and consistency of your heartbeat. It also gives a good overview of how your heart’s chambers are coordinating with each other.

    Why would I need an EKG?

    EKGs are routine before surgery for certain patients, depending on age and diagnosis. An EKG will also be ordered if a patient has a history of heart disease or is having any chest pain. Your doctor can give you a more specific reason.

    What time of day are EKGs routinely done?

    They are routinely done in the early morning. EKGs ordered on other than routine basis are conducted as soon as possible.

    Who will perform my EKG?

    Respiratory care practitioners perform the majority of EKGs. They are experts in cardiopulmonary care and will perform the test quickly and professionally.

    What is electroneurodiagnostics (END)?

    END is the study and recording of electrical activity in the brain and nervous system. Our electroencephalogram (EEG) technologists perform tests with results interpreted by specially trained physicians and reported to the referring physician.

    What is an EEG?

    An EEG records the electrical activity of the brain. Highly sensitive monitoring equipment records this activity through electrodes, placed at measured intervals, on the patient’s scalp and face.

    Does the EEG hurt?

    No. An EEG does not hurt. It simply records what is happening electrically in the brain.

    What can I expect to happen during an EEG exam?

    Your head is measured and marked for electrode placement. The marked areas are prepped and the electrodes are placed using a paste-like substance. The test usually takes 60-90 minutes. Your role during the study is simply to remain still, relaxed, and comfortable.

    During the exam, you may be asked to take repeated deep breaths and/or be shown a strobe light that flashes at various speeds. Both activities are used to reveal brain patterns that will be helpful in the interpretation of the study.

    In some cases, your physician may order an EEG to be done during sleep. For sleep EEGs, you may be asked to remain awake most of the prior night until the scheduled time for the EEG or may be given a mild sedative (especially in the case of children).

    What is the purpose of an EEG?

    An EEG can assist the doctor in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of neurological problems. These can range from common headaches and dizziness to seizure disorders, strokes, and degenerative brain disease. The EEG can also determine organic causes of psychiatric symptoms and disabilities as well as help determine irreversible brain death.

    Where is the EEG performed at Freeman?

    EEG testing for inpatients is usually done in the patient’s room. You may be brought to the EEG lab if conditions in your room are not conducive to an optimal study.

    How many other people will be getting an EEG done when I have mine?

    One technologist works with one patient at a time. The EEG technologists conduct 4-7 EEGs per weekday. An EEG is generally a scheduled procedure; however, we will make effort to get your study done as rapidly as possible.

    What is an EP study?

    An EP study is a special heart study in which catheter wires are placed into the heart through a vein that runs in either the right or left groin. These wires are used to thoroughly check the heart’s electrical system and to test for any abnormalities.

    Where does the procedure take place?

    The procedure takes place in a specialized cardiac catheterization laboratory I the hospital that has been designed to perform complex catheterization procedures.

    How do I prepare for the test?

    Take your prescription medicines with a few sips of water. Do not eat or drink 6 hours prior to the test.

    How is the procedure performed?

    We will bring you to the laboratory in a hospital gown and give you sedation medicine to help you feel relaxed and at ease. The doctor will then place numbing medicine just under the skin in the groin area. Once the area is numb, the doctor will place small intravenous tubes in the veins. Through these tubes, the electrophysiology catheters will then be placed under fluoroscopy (x-ray) into the heart. The doctors will use the catheters to pace the heart in an attempt to “stir up” irregular heart rhythms. The doctor may start and stop these irregular rhythms many times.

    Once the heart’s electrical problem has been diagnosed, the doctor can then make recommendations to you and your family regarding appropriate therapy.

    Is the test painful?

    The test is simple, not painful, and performed in a specific laboratory under controlled clinical circumstances by cardiologists and nurses. The most common complaint after this test is minor back discomfort from having to lie flat for up to 4 hours.

    How long does the procedure take?

    An electrophysiology study can take anywhere from 2-4 hours to perform. Patients often drift off to sleep during this procedure.

    When will I receive my test results?

    If your physician conducts the test, you may learn the test results before you leave.

    Freeman’s cutting-edge MRI machines offer faster exam times and enhanced images. They also provide patients with a better experience by reducing noise and increasing comfort during the exam procedure, reducing the sense of confinement and the possibility of claustrophobia. Our MRI machines can image the entire body and are now optimized to image small or complex structures, even including the heart, prostate gland and blood vessels throughout the body. It can also more easily accommodate patients of various sizes, including pediatric patients.

    What is an MRI Scan?

    An MRI scan is a painless process used to see inside the body without using x-rays. It can produce two- or three-dimensional images using a large magnet, radio waves and a computer. The magnetic fields MRI uses are not known to be harmful.

    Where is the MRI center located?

    The MRI center is located at Freeman West. If your room is located at Freeman East and your doctor orders an MRI scan, we will transfer you by ambulance to Freeman West.

    What happens during an MRI?

    When you arrive for your MRI, we will ask you to complete a medical history form. This form is very important, and you should fill it out as completely and accurately as possible. The most crucial information you can give your technologist is knowledge of any metal located in your body. If you have ever had any type of device implanted in your body such as a pacemaker, neurostimulator (tens unit), ear implants or any metal clips in the eyes, you must inform the technologist before the test. You will also need to inform them if you are pregnant.

    Your MRI technologist will explain the exam that is about to take place. You will then be asked to sign a consent form stating that you understand the procedure. Hearing aids, nonpermanent dentures, glasses, watches, jewelry and contents of your pockets will need to be removed.

    Before the scan begins, the technologist will position you as comfortably as possible and give you earplugs or headphones. The exam table will slide into the magnet (a round tube).

    During the exam, you will not feel anything, but you will hear intermittent knocking noises that will vary in loudness and tone. Do not be alarmed by these noises; your technologist is monitoring the machine and your exam very closely. You will be given a buzzer in the event that you need to contact the technologist during your exam. The total examination time usually ranges from 40-90 minutes. Some MRI scans require that dye be injected into your IV. It is very important that you hold very still for your exam. If you feel you are unable to do this, please inform your doctor.

    What is nuclear medicine?

    Nuclear medicine involves the use of radioactive tracers to study a wide variety of normal and abnormal body functions and treat certain diseases. A radiotracer, or radiopharmaceutical, is simply an element that emits radiation detectable from outside the body.

    Who will perform my test?

    Under the direction of a qualified physician, a nuclear medicine technologist prepares and administers radiopharmaceuticals and operates radiation detection equipment.

    What does the equipment detect?

    Radiation detection equipment measures the quantity or distribution of the radiopharmaceutical in the patient and performs any calculations or computer analyses needed to complete the patient’s exam.

    What are the most common procedures?

    Cardiac imaging: The technologist analyzes blood flow through the heart and creates computerized images of the beating heart to map damaged heart tissue.

    Bone scan: This scan is usually performed to evaluate the spread of cancer in the body, but might also determine bone infections or stress fractures.

    Thyroid scan: The thyroid can be scanned to determine its size or the presence of nodules.

    What is a pulmonary function study?

    This term describes a variety of tests that assess a patient’s lung function compared to others of the same size, sex, and age.

    Why do I need a pulmonary function study?

    Your doctor will often order a pulmonary function test (PFT) to help determine the amount of lung function impairment, if any, that contributes to your symptoms. Some medications require repeated studies to assess their effectiveness and/or side effects. PFTs are often done before undergoing anesthesia to assess a patient's risk. Patients with chronic lung diseases normally take PFTs as a means of ongoing assessment of their disease state.

    Where will my pulmonary function study be done and by whom?

    A licensed respiratory care practitioner will perform your study, usually at your bedside. Occasionally, some tests will require a trip to our pulmonary function study lab.

    How long does a pulmonary function study take?

    Generally, it takes approximately 30 minutes.

    What am I expected to do during the pulmonary function study?

    The study depends on patient effort. A respiratory care practitioner will ask you to follow instructions to the best of your ability.

    What is respiratory care?

    Respiratory care involves state-licensed, professionally trained respiratory care practitioners and technicians. This team assesses the needs of patients and provides therapies to help speed the healing and recovery of patients. Their goal is to give patients the best opportunity to return to the highest possible level of cardiopulmonary health as quickly as possible.

    What are some of the treatments my doctor might order for me?

    The Respiratory Care Department provides therapies such as aerosolized medications for inhalation, various spontaneous and assisted breathing exercises and devices, aid with secretion clearance, oxygen therapy, and assisted ventilation.

    When will I receive these treatments?

    Depending on the frequency of the therapy ordered, you can expect treatment on a fairly regular schedule. Your respiratory therapist will explain the details to you.

    Will I receive these treatments at night?

    Some patients need to be around-the-clock treatment, depending on the individual situation. The respiratory team works to reduce the frequency of therapy as soon as possible to minimize the need for treatments at night.

    What if I want extra treatments or have a question for my therapist between treatments?

    To request extra treatments or if you have any questions for your therapist, please ask your nurse to page the respiratory therapist.

    What is a telemetry monitor?

    A telemetry monitor is a portable box that, when attached to you, displays your heart rate and rhythm at a central station. Nurses and technicians continuously monitor your heart rate and rhythm and keep your doctor informed regarding your progress. The monitor sends an alarm when it detects abnormal rhythm and prints a strip of that rhythm for your doctor to review. A nurse will also come in and check your blood pressure and pulse if an alarm sounds.

    How is the monitor attached?

    Five tiny wires, or electrodes, are taped to your arms or shoulders and your chest. The monitor is small, portable box that fits into a pocket and does not restrict your movement or prevent you from using the restroom.

    If a patch or wire comes off or loosens, someone will come to your room to reattach it.

    Can I take the monitor off while I am in my room?

    No. You should notify the nurses if you have any pain or pressure, the patches cause your skin to get red and itchy, or you get the monitor wet. Be careful not to drop the box.

    Can I take a shower while I am wearing the monitor?

    While you are wearing the monitor, you may bathe at the sink. If you take a shower or bath, ask the nurse to remove the box so it will not get wet.

    What is an ultrasound study?

    An ultrasound study, or sonogram, is a medical test ordered by a doctor. A sonographer or doctor may perform the actual test. An ultrasound test is completely painless and, in most procedures, noninvasive because it is performed on the surface of the skin. Ultrasound is one of the safest medical tests available today.

    What happens in an ultrasound exam?

    The sonographer first applies an odorless, colorless gel to the skin over the body part to be examined. This gel helps conduct sound waves from the transmitting device, or transducer, down to the body parts that are the focus of the study. The sonographer then applies the transducer to the skin. As the transducer moves around on the skin, images of the various organs appear on a video monitor. The sonographer electronically stores the most diagnostically useful images and prints them for a radiologist to interpret. Your doctor receives the results and discusses them with you.

    Where will my ultrasound take place?

    You may go to the Radiology Department for your ultrasound exam, or if you are staying in the hospital, it will be performed in you room, if possible. The ultrasound rooms are much cooler than many patients would like because the ultrasound equipment must be kept cool to operate efficiently.

    What are the different types of exams?

    • Abdomen: An ultrasound of your abdomen provides information about your pancreas, liver, gallbladder, aorta, kidneys, and spleen. This test will require that you have nothing to eat or drink for up to 8 hours prior to the test. This is necessary because eating and drinking produce gas in the bowel that blocks the ultrasound waves.
    • Pelvis: An ultrasound of the pelvis requires you to have a completely full bladder. The full bladder provides a sonographic “window” to fully visualize the pelvic organs.
    • Vascular: Your doctor orders vascular ultrasounds when he or she needs information about the veins and arteries that run throughout your body. You must remain very still and quiet during this exam so your sonographer can examine the very small vessels deep in your body and listen to the blood flow inside.
    • Obstetrical: Pregnancy ultrasounds are sometimes performed when the expectant mother is in the hospital. These are usually performed in the patient's room. If your doctor requests an evaluation by a perinatologist, a physician specializing in high-risk pregnancy, you will be transported by wheelchair to his office.
    • Guidance: Doctors also use ultrasound as a guidance tool. With procedures requiring placement of a needle, an ultrasound may help see into your body and ensure proper position.

    Freeman Screen Team

    Freeman screen Team reaches out to area residents to provide prevention and detection for healthier communities. By bringing low-cost health screenings to various locations in the region, Freeman Screen Team helps people who otherwise might not seek medical services.

    • Blood pressure
    • Blood cholesterol/lipid panel*
    • Colorectal screening kits
    • Glucose
    • Nutritional counseling
    • Body composition
    • Other lab services available for a fee

    *8 hours prior to lipid panel screening, avoid food and drink, except water and routine medications.

    Freeman Screen Team

    1130 E. 32nd, Suite C
    Joplin, MO


    Mind Your Wellbeing

    Mindful meditation has the power to reverse the negative effects of stress. Meditation trains the mind the way physical exercise strengthens our bodies. With training, we can prime our brain cells to fire together in patterns that strengthen vital nervous system structures that are key in everyday tasks such as decision making, memory and emotional flexibility. At the same time, crucial components of happiness – resilience, equanimity, calm and a sense of compassionate connection to others – are nurtured. Click here to learn more about Mind Your Wellbeing.