Abstract Image

Freeman Health System

Morrison Healthcare is uniquely geared to foster bold ideas and innovation in the food service management industry. Our culture fosters the ability of our associates to provide solutions that address your needs with speed, substance and a success rate that no one else in the industry can rival.

Freeman Health System

Located in Joplin, Missouri, Freeman Health System is a 485-bed, three-hospital organization providing comprehensive healthcare to an area that includes more than 450,000 from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The not-for-profit health system is composed acute-care and critical access facilities: Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital, and Ozark Center, a behavioral health division.

Since the May 22, 2011, tornado, Freeman has enhanced its services and opened new facilities to stay ahead of community needs. Throughout the health system, beds have been added, services have been expanded, new technology has been installed, and programs have been established to meet the increasing demand for excellence in healthcare.

In the fall of 2014, Freeman Health System’s administrators agreed something different had to be done to improve patient satisfaction but were still guarded about implementing change across the system at one time. So, the Morrison team of six managers overhauled the system and implemented it on one floor every two weeks.


In October 2014, Healthstream ranked patient satisfaction with food services in the 7th percentile.

A positive response to the new program from the nursing team and patients was immediate and impactful. Patient satisfaction rocketed to the 50th percentile in 60 days by December 2014. Excitement around the changes caught on like wildfire, and food services personnel received the first patient satisfaction incentive in three years. Front line staff have embraced accountability for the satisfaction on their floors.

As of March 2015, patient satisfaction had again climbed to the 66th percentile.

How success was achieved

The Dining on Call program was restructured evolving into a hybrid program of Dining on Call and Catering to You. While concerned there would be pushback, taking meal orders in-person was well received. The use of technology was instrumental in the quick improvement in patient satisfaction as well as validating best practices and effective standards.

  • CBORD’s patient meal ordering solutions worked for both Dining on Call and Catering to You programs. The system enables clinically based hospital room service that improves patient, guest and employee satisfaction as well as reduction in overall cost.
  • Tablets were provided to the catering associates for discussing individual meal orders at the patient’s bedside.
  • Tray Monitor software also was used to help the nurses know when trays were to be delivered.

Rounding also was key to success. Leaders effectively rounded every day enabling good nursing and patient outcomes. Catering associates stayed on the floors except for breaks and lunch to round between meals and meet patients’ needs for snacks, tea, coffee, etc. Other important keys to success were:

  • Reinforced a consistent, easy to understand message daily.
  • Ensured the right people were in the right places – particularly on the floors.
  • Vice President shadowed associates on the floor using key words at key times.
  • Patient Service Manager provided personal cell number to nurses and patients when needed.
  • Dedicated food runners.
  • Identified ambassadors across the health system.
  • Trimmed the team down to one operator.
  • Worked closely with nursing to establish best practices, enhancing communication and staying fluid until policies that best worked for Freeman’s system were identified and made official.
  • Met bi-weekly with senior level nurse administrators and nurse managers and provided food tastings. This proved better than having a test tray delivered to the floor when nurses are too busy to engage.

In addition to using Morrison’s Be a Star/People First corporate employee recognition process, Freeman Health System’s rewards and recognition program was incorporated into daily operations.

  • Service excellence was recognized at meetings.
  • Recognition for service-oriented acts were recognized during certain days of the week; Candy Bar Friday for example.
Contact Us