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Kansas health system completes acquisition of Missouri hospital


It took some time, but Liberty Hospital has joined the University of Kansas Health System.

After some delay and debate, Liberty Hospital is now officially a part of the University of Kansas Health System.

Image: University of Kansas Health System

The University of Kansas Health System has completed the acquisition of Liberty Hospital.

The system announced that Liberty became a part of the organization on July 1. The hospital is based in Liberty, Missouri, a Kansas City suburb, and the organization also operates 15 primary and specialty care clinics.

Some elected officials in Missouri had raised concerns about the merger, but the health system and Liberty Hospital announced in May that they had finalized a deal to come together.

Raghu Adiga, MD, the hospital’s top executive, now has the title of CEO of the Liberty Market for The University of Kansas Health System.

In a post on LinkedIn, Adiga wrote that it has been a “long, thoughtful journey to join the University of Kansas Health System.”

Bob Page, president and CEO of The University of Kansas Health System, also touted the completion of the transaction.

In a post on LinkedIn, Page wrote, “We could not be more excited about Liberty Hospital joining The University of Kansas Health System and our future together. We take our commitments to honor what Liberty Hospital has built over the past 50 years very seriously and believe together we will make the next 50 years even better.”

Adiga had said joining the health system would help ensure the future viability of Liberty Hospital. He said the deal will offer more access to top healthcare in the Northland, Kansas City’s suburban region above the Missouri River.

“To have a strong community, we must have strong healthcare,” Adiga said in a statement. “We believe this relationship not only strengthens Liberty Hospital – it strengthens the Liberty community and the entire Northland.

Still, the merger encountered some turbulence in Missouri.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey had said earlier this year that Missouri lawmakers would have to sign off on the merger. Both the health system and Liberty Hospitals disagreed with Bailey’s assessment and said they were moving forward.

At one point, some Missouri lawmakers also said they were crafting legislation to block the deal, drawing consternation from hospital officials. Dennis Carter, president of Liberty Hospital’s board, warned that if the deal collapsed, he feared a for-profit system would end up acquiring Liberty Hospital and cutting essential services.

Tammy Peterman, president of the University of Kansas Health System’s Kansas City division, touted the acquisition of Liberty in a post on LinkedIn.

“We share a commitment to putting patients first in everything we do. With a focus on providing the very best care and service to patients and families, the highest quality outcomes and having the best people supported in the best and right way, we look forward to what we will create together,” she wrote.

About 35% of the University of Kansas Health System’s patients come from Missouri, Peterman has said.

Missouri has already seen a major healthcare merger in recent months.

On Jan. 1, BJC HealthCare and Saint Luke’s Health System completed their merger, forming the BJC Health System. The academic health system boasts $10 billion in revenue and operates 24 hospitals and more than 250 clinics. BJC is based in St. Louis, and Saint Luke's is based in Kansas City.

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