In response to growing demand for health care services in the north Kansas City suburbs, Liberty Hospital leaders began exploring partnerships with out-of-state health systems. However, legislators in both Missouri and Kansas are currently working to block a proposed merger between Liberty (Mo.) Hospital and the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City.
Missouri state Sen. Greg Razer has introduced legislation that would limit collaboration between Missouri hospitals and out-of-state health systems affiliated with institutions of higher education. Meanwhile, state Sen. JR Claeis has proposed a bill in Kansas that would require the University of Kansas Health System to obtain approval from the state legislature before investing in facilities outside its borders.
Liberty Hospital’s board chairman, Mr. Dennis Carter, expressed concern that legislative interference could lead to a chain takeover of the hospital, which could result in the closure of its birthing center and Level 2 trauma center. He urged lawmakers to refrain from obstructing the planned merger and argued that it was necessary for Liberty Hospital to continue providing high-quality healthcare services to patients in the north Kansas City suburbs.
During a Missouri Senate committee meeting, Mr. Carter spoke about the risks of Liberty Hospital becoming part of a for-profit system rather than remaining a community-oriented institution as it had originally been intended. Despite this opposition, by October, the University of Kansas Health System had emerged as Liberty Hospital’s preferred partner for expansion into new markets.