In an effort to prevent the proposed merger between Liberty Hospital in Missouri and the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, lawmakers are currently working on legislation that would restrict collaboration between Missouri hospitals and out-of-state health systems associated with institutions of higher education. Missouri state Sen. Greg Razer has introduced a bill that requires a supermajority of voters to approve any partnerships between Missouri hospitals and out-of-state health systems connected to higher education institutions. Meanwhile, state Sen. J.R. Claeys has introduced a bill in Kansas that would require the University of Kansas Health System to obtain approval from the state legislature before making investments in facilities outside its borders.
During a Missouri Senate committee meeting, Mr. Dennis Carter, president of the Liberty Hospital board, 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, the potential acquisition of a Missouri hospital by a Kansas institution has faced opposition from lawmakers in both states. Mr. Carter expressed concerns that interference from legislators could result in the hospital being acquired by a chain, which could lead to the closure of its labor and delivery center and level 2 trauma center.