Published on March 08, 2013
To all concerned citizens:
As Chairman of the Board of Trustees of North Kansas City Hospital, I want to make sure every citizen of North Kansas City clearly understands what is at stake for the future of the Hospital. There is a lot of activity and discussion swirling around right now. I want to help each of you understand the facts so that you can be informed about what we, as the Hospital board members, are doing to protect your community hospital.
Last summer, without proper notification, the city council of North Kansas City hatched a scheme to attempt to sell North Kansas City Hospital, most likely to a for-profit hospital chain. The Hospital was originally established 55 years ago by the vote of the citizens of North Kansas City, not a vote of the City Council.
This Hospital is an asset to the entire community, and, as such, it is the obligation of the Board of Trustees to manage and protect this asset. Thus, from the very beginning, it has been our position that the City Council does not have the authority to sell the Hospital and in effect, pull the rug out from under all the people the Hospital serves and employs.
One of the assertions made by the city council is that the healthcare landscape is undergoing change and that it is their belief North Kansas City Hospital is not ready to meet the challenges ahead. They believe a national for profit hospital chain or consultant will know more about the challenges and needs for our community than we do. They are wrong.
North Kansas City Hospital has always been on the cutting edge of where healthcare is going overall. More importantly, we have 55 years of experience knowing the healthcare needs of this community as they have changed over time. An outside, for-profit hospital chain would never do what is best for our community.
The Board has had no choice except to take any actions necessary to protect your Hospital. We have had to go to court with different actions to block the city from their scheme to sell. Our most recent court filing is in reaction to the City’s plan suddenly to fill open positions on the Board they have left empty for as long as three years. Their sudden desire to add board members in the middle of this controversy is transparent.
We are also receiving the unwavering support of our two local Missouri legislators, Sen. Ryan Silvey and Rep. Jay Swearingen. After hosting a town meeting in February, each of our legislators has introduced bills (Senate Bill 443 and House Bill 777) that will allow North Kansas City Hospital to protect itself from any attempt by this City Council or future City Councils to sell the Hospital. The town hall meeting demonstrated the overwhelming support the citizens of North Kansas City have for the Hospital.
This legislative change is needed to ensure that North Kansas City Hospital remains a not-for-profit hospital and ends this threat of an attempted sale by the city. Since the hospital and the citizens of North Kansas City cannot depend on city officials to maintain the Hospital’s not-for-profit status, the proposed legislation from our local legislators is necessary.
This legislation will protect the citizens of North Kansas City from seeing the assets of the Hospital diverted to non-charitable healthcare uses. If North Kansas City officials are left unchecked, this threat is real without this legislation being enacted.
We urge everyone concerned about the future of North Kansas City Hospital to let the Missouri Legislature know how important this modernization of laws governing community hospitals is to the future of healthcare in Missouri. The citizens of North Kansas City and all of the Northland are dependent upon the high-quality delivery of healthcare services provided by North Kansas City Hospital. We are dedicated to making sure we continue to provide not only what is expected now, but also what will be expected in the future.
Most of all, we deeply appreciate the support we are receiving from members of the community, our physicians and employees. No one wants to see North Kansas City Hospital sold. We will take every action possible to ensure that this Hospital continues to serve North Kansas City residents and all of the Northland today and in the future. And we encourage everyone who supports the hospital to communicate that support to all local and state officials.
In the midst of all this, all of us at North Kansas City Hospital have never forgotten what our name signifies. We are, and will always be, North Kansas City Hospital. We are proud to be a part of what we believe is Missouri’s finest community, North Kansas City. We thank the citizens for their continued support and look forward to being your community hospital forever and always.