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Freeman Health System Prepares for Affordable Care Act

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over 30 million Americans will gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
JOPLIN, MO.--- Freeman Health System President Paula Baker says it is possible certain areas might see a shortage of health care professionals.

"I think a shortage of health care is a definite reality, but at Freeman, we've been gearing up for that. With an addition of 28 physicians so far this year, and we've hired a number of nurses as well," said Paula Baker, Freeman Health System President. 

Baker says the hospital has been preparing throughout the year for the changes brought by the Affordable Care Act. 

"Freeman has kind of a unique opportunity to impact that shortage," said Baker. 

They've increased their number of outpatient clinic providers and opened new clinics in the area. Also, Baker says they're improving planning for residents that already have insurance. 

"I think with proper planning, we can really decrease wait times to get in. That's why we've worked very hard to recruit new physicians so that if you're trying to get into see a new primary care physician, you can do so immediately," said Baker. 

Baker does think the hospital will see an influx in the number of patients they receive seeking health care services, but they are going to continue to prepare. 

"We work everyday to provide the highest quality outcomes for our patients and exceptional service. So, the residents of this region can definitely count on Freeman to maintain and sustain that effort," said Baker. 

Freeman recently received a $250,000 grant, which will assist residents in understanding how the Affordable Care Act affects them. If there's anyone with questions about the Affordable Care Act, you can contact Freeman Health System by emailing marketplace@freemanhealth.com or call 417-347-8888.

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