Log in Fall Special

Freeman offers wellness visits for SEK residents


PITTSBURG, Kan. — Freeman Health System is expanding its preventive health services throughout Southeast Kansas by announcing comprehensive wellness visits for Medicare-aged residents that are open to all insurance providers. Starting at 11:45 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, three Freeman doctors and two nurse practitioners will be on hand to conduct a physical check-up at two Southeast Kansas locations: either Freeman Internal Medicine & Family Practice at 608 Willard in Frontenac or Freeman Heartland Internal Medicine at 1018 Ohio St. in Pittsburg.

“We’re addressing the health of our older population in Southeast Kansas,” said Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker. “This is the latest example of Freeman Health System’s continued commitment to Southeast Kansas, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to take care of our friends and neighbors across the state line.” 

People 65 or older are eligible for one wellness visit each year, which is covered by most major insurance providers, including Medicare Plan B. These wellness checks are 100% covered with no out-of-pocket expenses. The new Southeast Kansas wellness service goes several steps further, however – they’re not only open to Medicare and most major insurance providers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana or Aetna, but patients taking advantage of the new service need not be affiliated with Freeman Health System. 

“This is available to all — no strings attached. We just want to encourage people to take the time to get their check-ups,” said Annette Allgood, Freeman’s assistant director of Professional Support. “A lot of people only see a doctor when they are sick; few get their annual wellness checks.”

The doctors who will be on hand include Dr. Ryan Sorell, Dr. William Sullivan and Dr. John Taylor, along with nurse practitioners Jessica Hartzfeld and Patricia Sullivan. 

“For more than a decade, the annual wellness visit has been available to Medicare beneficiaries, however it remains a greatly underutilized service,” said Dr. Sorell. “On average, individuals on Medicare see a doctor more than three times a year, yet the focus of those visits are most often acute care needs or monitoring uncontrolled chronic issues putting health maintenance on the back burner.”

The wellness visits will give patients an opportunity to review their health history, identify any current or potential health risks and share preferences in care delivery with their primary care professional. In turn, the visits will also allow providers the more time to focus on the preventive health needs of patients, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, as well as appropriate counseling on issues like mental health, memory and independent living. 

“The idea is to keep people healthy and to save lives,” Allgood said. “We want them to be proactive and not to wait; to treat them ahead of time before serious symptoms show up.”

Wellness visits can be set up exclusively by calling 620-231-0730.