PITTSBURG, Kans. — Getting into a new doctor can take weeks and even months and everyone knows that waiting in the emergency room takes hours. One area health system announced today how it intends to increase the number of doctors and medical care in the area.

“And we have heard from many businesses and community leaders as well as patients and citizens that they would like to see expanded services from Freeman, so we have listened to them, we’ve heard what their needs are and we’re very very excited to fulfill those,” said Paula Baker, President, CEO, Freeman Health System.

Baker said that’s why they are planning to build a new 50-bed, 170,000-square-foot hospital in her hometown of Pittsburg.

“And we have many patients who currently travel to Joplin from all over Southeast Kansas and we believe that they deserve that care right in their own backyard, so that’s what we’re striving for,” said Baker.

But she says they won’t be staffing the Pittsburg hospital with doctors and nurses from here in Joplin.

“We’ll be recruiting new physicians to work full time in Pittsburg, every type of employee you need to run a hospital, we will be recruiting for,” said Baker.

When the state-of-the-art, full-service facility is up and running, she says they will employ as many as 1,000 new employees. While there is no timeline for construction to begin and the facility’s location remains up in the air, Baker is optimistic about those details.

“So that’s why I think we can quickly obtain some land and get the architectural plans finalized, do the soil studies, all those things that are necessary from an engineering perspective, and then we’ll be ready to break ground,” she said.