Lawmaker opposition jeopardizes KU Health-Liberty Hospital deal

Missouri-Kansas Legislators Work to Block Merger between Hospital and University Health System

Lawmakers in both Missouri and Kansas are currently working to prevent the proposed merger between Liberty Hospital in Missouri and the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City. In Kansas, state Sen. J.R. Claeys has introduced a bill that would require the University of Kansas Health System to obtain approval from the state legislature before making investments in facilities outside its borders. Meanwhile, Missouri state Sen. Greg Razer is sponsoring legislation that would restrict collaboration between Missouri hospitals and out-of-state health systems connected to higher education institutions.

The bill proposed by Sen. Razer specifically requires a supermajority of voters to approve any partnerships between Missouri hospitals and out-of-state health systems associated with institutions of higher education. Mr. Dennis Carter, president of the Liberty Hospital board, is advocating for lawmakers to refrain from impeding the planned merger.

During a Missouri Senate committee meeting, Mr. Carter spoke about the risks of the hospital becoming a part of a for-profit system, rather than the community-oriented institution that was originally intended.

Liberty Hospital leaders began exploring a partnership with a health system in response to growing demand for healthcare services in the northern Kansas City suburbs. By October, the University of Kansas Health System emerged as the preferred partner.

However, opposition from lawmakers in both states has faced potential acquisition of a Missouri hospital by a Kansas institution which could lead to closure of its labor and delivery center and level 2 trauma center if not allowed to merge.

Overall, this proposed merger raises concerns about how it may impact healthcare services in both states and what measures should be taken to ensure that these institutions continue to operate for years to come.

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