Freeman News

Freeman Named Blue Distinction® Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery

September 16, 2020

Blue Cross Blue Shield Recognition for Expertise and Cost-Efficiency

Joplin, MO – Freeman Health System Bariatric Center has earned a national designation for expertise in delivering quality specialty care safely, effectively and cost-efficiently, being named a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“Blue Distinction is a testament to our commitment to quality care for each of our patients,” says Dr. David Baker, Freeman Bariatric and General Surgeon. “It reinforces the importance of a comprehensive bariatric program and acknowledges that our program is among the best in the country.”

Blue Distinction Centers+ provide a full range of bariatric surgery care, including surgical care, post-operative care, outpatient follow-up care and patient education. BCBS says these centers have lower complication rates and fewer readmissions than average. Each Blue Distinction Center+ must meet a specific set of rigorous standards to receive a Blue Distinction Specialty Care designation. The designation means that overall patient experience and aggregate data met objective criteria in line with recommendations by expert clinicians and leading professional organizations.

The program takes into account quality, business and cost aspects of a bariatric program.

It evaluates the following bariatric procedures:

  • Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy
  • Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
  • Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band


Quality metrics measured include input from the medical community and quality measurement experts; review of medical literature, together with national quality and safety initiatives; and a thorough analysis of meaningful quality measures.

To make an appointment with Dr. Brad Coy or Dr. David Baker and take part in a bariatric weight-loss surgery seminar call Janice Drake at 417.347.1266




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