MO, KS Lawmakers Object to KU Health, Liberty Hospital Partnership

Lawmakers from both side of the state line are contesting the partnership between Liberty Hospital and the University of Kansas Health System.

Posted December 13, 2023

Missouri and Kansas lawmakers are expressing concerns with the partnership between Liberty Hospital and the University of Kansas Health System, calling the deal “rushed” and a decision that would take healthcare dollars away from Missouri.

The Liberty Hospital board voted to approve a partnership between the hospital and the KU Health System in October. The partnership, which has yet to be finalized, would increase Liberty Hospital’s service capabilities and patient experience while the KU Health System would expand its reach into Northern Missouri.

Missouri Democratic Sen. Greg Razer is one lawmaker who has spoken out against this partnership and has pre-filed a bill that would halt the proposed partnership, according to the Kansas Reflector Allison Kite reported. The bill would prohibit hospital boards from partnering with an out-of-state health system “operated by an institution of higher education” without voter approval.

Razer is concerned that this deal would take healthcare dollars from Missouri to “prop up Kansas,” and the KU Heath System would use the partnership as a means of recruitment.

Kansas lawmakers have also voiced their objections to the partnership, according to the Kansas Reflector.

Kansas Republican Senate President Ty Masterson believes a deal like this could benefit several struggling Kansas hospitals and does not see the need to involve Missouri.

Kansas has closed down ten rural hospitals and an additional 84 hospitals have been impacted by a shortage of workforce since 2005, according to the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.

Liberty Hospital and the KU Health System hope to finalize the deal sometime in early 2024, according to Liberty Hospital CEO Raghu Adiga.