Liberty Hospital, a public hospital serving the northern suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri, has remained independent since opening nearly 50 years ago. That time may be about to end. The hospital, a 200-bed facility with 1,900 employees and managed by the county, is close to signing a non-binding letter of intent to affiliate with Kansas City, Kansas-based University of Kansas Health System. If the plans come to fruition, Liberty would be among a group of state- and county-owned hospitals that have recently announced or completed health system affiliations with nonprofit health systems. Community hospitals are seeking health system affiliations to expand their service offerings, while health systems can benefit by directing lower-acuity care to community hospitals.
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