A legal battle over the possible fate of North Kansas City Hospital is escalating in court today. The hospital is asking a judge this afternoon to block the city’s recent appointments of four new members to the hospital’s board. They worry the move would unevenly ‘pack the board,’ while a broader dispute over the hospital’s ownership plays out in court.
Last spring, the hospital’s board sued the city over concerns that council members were exploring selling the hospital. State lawmakers filed legislation earlier this month that could potentially prevent that from happening by turning the hospital into an independent non profit. Matt Shatto, the city’s administrator, says they then felt they had to do something. So, they started the process of filling vacant seats on the hospital board.
"The city in response to that could not sit by idly," said Shatto. "If they were going to break that silence move forward other than litigation, then city council had to move forward and see if way to create more rational and thoughtful opportunity to work with the hospital and the board."
Shatto says the city is not looking to sell the hospital, but they want to explore options amid a changing health care landscape. Meanwhile, the two party’s combined tab for the legal wrangling has topped $1 million.
Michael Montgomery, chair of the hospital board, has been on the board for 15 years.
"We filed an injunction to maintain a standstill [while the lawsuit is in court], to continue to prevent a sale of the hospital," said Montgomery.