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Freeman gains state OK for cardiac center

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Freeman Health System of Joplin will soon be breaking ground for a $6.3 million cardiac center at its Freeman West campus.

The Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee has given Freeman permission to consolidate its cardiac and respiratory services in a three-story structure that is to be added to the east wing of Freeman West.

Those services are now scattered throughout the hospital. Consolidation will allow Freeman to provide more efficient care and easier access for patients, the committee ruled.

The construction project will also provide space for medical offices and room for future growth. Construction is to be completed by June 1999.

The center will contain 34,803 square feet of space, with 26,802 square feet of renovated space. The project includes renovation to the former DaySurg area, which is now housed at the Freeman East campus.

Freeman submitted its application to the review committee Nov. 12 via the Certificate of Need program. The Certificate of Need procedure, in operation since 1980, is designed to regulate unwarranted growth in the medical industry and hold down unnecessary health care costs. The committee's staff, which visited the site on Jan. 6, found that:

?Cardiac services were so spread out at the hospital that a large number of patients were being transferred back and forth. The staff said the present arrangement was time-consuming and an inefficient use of staff time.

?Cardiology waiting areas were small and inadequate, and there were no consulting rooms for physicians.

?The addition would create a new corridor that would give more direct access to the intensive-care unit.

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