In recent news, lawmakers in Kansas and Missouri are working to prevent a proposed merger between Liberty Hospital in Missouri and the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City. State Sen. J.R. Claeys has introduced a bill in Kansas that requires the University of Kansas Health System to obtain approval from the state legislature before making investments in facilities outside its borders, while Missouri state Sen. Greg Razer is sponsoring legislation that would restrict collaboration between Missouri hospitals and out-of-state health systems connected to institutions of higher education.
In particular, the bill proposed by Sen. Razer in Missouri requires a supermajority of voters to approve any partnerships between Missouri hospitals and out-of-state health systems associated with institutions of higher education. This measure is intended to give local communities greater control over healthcare services and prevent the acquisition of community-oriented institutions by for-profit chains.
During a Missouri Senate committee meeting, Mr. Dennis Carter, president of the Liberty Hospital board, spoke about the risks associated with becoming part of a for-profit system rather than remaining a community-oriented institution as originally intended. He 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. However, he urged lawmakers to refrain from impeding the planned merger with the University of Kansas Health System, which he saw as an opportunity for Liberty Hospital to expand its services and better meet the needs of patients in northern Kansas City suburbs.