Freeman News

Ozark Center Receives $2 Million Federal Grant

April 29, 2020

Funding Supports Mental Health and Addiction Services

Joplin, Mo -   Ozark Center, an entity of Freeman Health System, is one of five certified community behavioral health clinics sharing in $14 million dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services in support of mental health and addiction services.

“We appreciate the support of such critical services as many struggle with the emotional toll of COVID-19,” says Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker.

“We’re seeing a marked increase in telehealth counseling sessions,” says Vicky Mieseler, Ozark Center Chief Administrative Officer. “And we know that we can anticipate an increase in the need for all services for up to three years after this time of crisis, as was the case after the Joplin tornado.”

United States Senator Roy Blunt announced the grant allocation saying, “The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently reported nearly a 900% increase in the number of calls to its crisis hotline over this time last year. Isolation, anxiety, economic uncertainty and limits on in-person counseling have created the perfect storm for an unprecedented – and potentially deadly – mental health crisis. As health care providers continue responding to the coronavirus, making sure people have access to mental health and addiction treatment is more important than ever.”




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