Missouri and Kansas Legislators Work to Halt Proposed Merger Between Liberty Hospital and University of Kansas Health System

Lawmaker opposition challenges the KU Health-Liberty Hospital deal

Lawmakers in both Missouri and Kansas are working to stop a proposed merger between Liberty Hospital and the University of Kansas Health System based in Kansas City. In Missouri, state Sen. Greg Razer has introduced a bill that requires Missouri hospitals to get legislative approval before partnering with an out-of-state health system associated with a higher education institution. However, Dennis Carter, president of the Liberty Hospital board, is advising legislators not to impede the proposed merger.

At a Missouri Senate committee meeting, Mr. Carter expressed concerns that legislative intervention against the merger could result in the acquisition of Liberty Hospital by a chain, potentially leading to the closure of its labor and delivery center and level 2 trauma center. Liberty Hospital leaders started seeking a health system partnership in May to address the increasing demand in the Kansas City suburbs, north of the Missouri River. By October, they had chosen the University of Kansas Health System.

In Kansas, state Sen. J.R. Claeys has introduced a bill that requires the KU Health System to get legislative approval before investing in facilities outside of Kansas. The bill has not yet been heard. The possibility of a Kansas-based institution taking over a Missouri hospital is being met with resistance from lawmakers on both sides of the river who are concerned about preserving local healthcare options and maintaining independence for Missouri hospitals.

Missouri Independent reported on this issue on Feb 12th.

It is unclear what will happen next as both bills are still pending hearing and passage.

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