University of Kansas Health System and Liberty Hospital Partnership Enters Definitive Agreement

The University of Kansas Health System and Liberty Hospital announced definitive agreements for the hospital system's strategic partnership have been signed. Photo courtesy of Liberty Hospital.

Posted May 1, 2024

The University of Kansas Health System and Liberty Hospital announced Wednesday that definitive agreements for the two healthcare providers were signed. Liberty will remain its own entity while transferring its operations to KU Health.

The two hospitals hosted a joint video news conference on Wednesday to reveal the Liberty Hospital Board of Trustees had unanimously signed definitive agreements, proceeding on the strategic partnership the hospitals announced in October 2023.

Liberty Hospital and The University of Kansas Health System anticipate closing the deal on July 1, 2024.

Dr. Raghu Adiga, president and CEO of Liberty Hospital; Tammy Peterman, president of the Kansas City division of The University of Kansas Health System and Bob Page, president and CEO of The University of Kansas Health System were featured speakers for the conference.

“As the region’s largest locally headquartered health system, we are committed to ensuring patients and their families in our region have access to the highest quality care close to home,” Page said “As a health system, we put patients first in every decision we make. We believe and have proven when you make quality and service your priorities and have the very best people supported in the best and right ways, great things happen.”

The New Liberty Hospital District will manage all of Liberty Hospital’s fixed assets, while KU Health will oversee all of the hospital’s operations upon the deal’s closure, Adiga said.

Page also mentioned some of KU Health’s key capital commitment to the partnership by way of a $324 million commitment over a 12-year period. That commitment will be allocated proper territory including Clay, Ray, Clinton, Caldwell and Platte counties in Missouri, according to an overview of the agreement.

Possible investments could include modernizing the Liberty Hospital campus, creating of an integrated oncology program on the campus, developing additional clinical campuses, emergency department/informational tech upgrades and more.

KU Health will spend at least half of its capital commitment in the first seven years.

As part of the agreement Liberty Hospital employees and employed physicians for at least one year.

An advisory committee to The University of Kansas Health System Board of Directors will be created to provide council and serve as liaison to the Liberty community.

The committee will exist for no less than 12 years after the deal closes and will be formed of 11 members, with at least six of its members representing the Liberty community.

“Today, 35% of health system patients come from Missouri,” Peterman said. “As Liberty and the Northland continue to grow, it is important patients can get the necessary care close to home. This agreement will not only allow us to treat more patients overall, but also offer access to those with the most complex care needs at 39th and Rainbow and other locations.”

Missouri and Kansas lawmakers have expressed concerns about the partnership, claiming it would take healthcare dollars away from Missouri.

In January, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey released a letter claiming 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.

Despite these oppositions to the deal, leaders from both hospitals do not anticipate any legislative hurdles moving forward.

“We are very confident we are on solid ground,” Adiga said.