Posted January 31, 2024
The Missouri attorney general believes the partnership between Liberty Hospital and the University of Kansas Health System is unlawful and requires approval of the Missouri General Assembly.
In a letter published on Jan. 24, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said Liberty Hospital is a “political subdivision,” and the healthcare providers would not be allowed to merge since the two entities are on opposite sides of the state line.
“However, when such an agreement would cross state lines, additional considerations apply including whether the agreement is within the ‘scope of powers’ of the other party, is authorized by the laws of each state, or requires additional review and approvals,” Bailey said in his letter.
Officials from the hospital systems are contesting Bailey’s letter to lawmakers.
“We disagree with the Attorney General’s assessment and welcome discussions as we continue due diligence toward final agreements with Liberty Hospital,” KU Health spokesperson Bob Hallinan said in a statement Friday. “We are committed to providing the very best health care to our region, as close to home as possible.”
A Kansas bill, filed last week, would effectively block KU Health from acquiring out-of-state property without first acquiring state approvals. A Missouri bill was filed recently to prohibit hospital boards from partnering with an out-of-state health system “operated by an institution of higher education” without voter approval.
Concerns regarding the partnering healthcare providers and state lawmakers began in December when Missouri Democratic Sen. Greg Razer is one lawmaker who has spoken out against this partnership. Razer then pre-filed the bill to prohibit the partnership.
The partnership was announced in October 2023 and would improve access to high-quality healthcare in the Kansas City Northland.