By Wally Kennedy
JOPLIN, Mo. —
The Freeman Health System Board of Directors has elected Chief Clinical Officer Paula Baker as president and chief executive officer elect to take office on Jan. 1.
Gary Duncan, Freeman’s chief executive office, announced his plans for retirement in August.
About the election, Lance Beshore, board chairman, said, “This represents the culmination of a five-year leadership assessment and development process undertaken in preparation for Gary Duncan’s retirement.
“We are fortunate to have such a capable and inspiring leader in Paula to take the helm as the next chief executive officer of Freeman Health System. Her vision and her ability to motivate people to high standards will allow us to continue to serve the region with the best available healthcare.’’
Behsore said Baker will be working closely with Duncan to ensure a seamless transition.
Baker said, “I look forward to leading this extraordinary team of physicians and staff in carrying Freeman to the next level in taking care of our patients and their families. I’m optimistic about our ability to take advantage of the myriad of opportunities I see in our future.”
Baker has served as Chief Clinical Officer for the System since 2008. In that role, she has led approximately 1,800 employees in improving clinical quality performance on several critical indicators.