LIBERTY, Mo. — Liberty Hospital and the University of Kansas Health System announced Thursday they plan to partner.

Liberty Hospital’s board voted to pursue the partnership on Thursday, five months after hospital leaders first announced they were considering opportunities to align with a larger health system.

“From the outset, we focused on finding a partner who will invest in increasing access to high-quality care, offers a great cultural fit, and upholds our commitment to the community and our employees,” Raghu Adiga, Liberty Hospital’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“We believe the University of Kansas Health System is uniquely positioned to support us in bringing world-class clinical excellence to the Northland and northwest Missouri, making exceptional healthcare as close and convenient as it can be.”

Specifics of the partnership haven’t been worked out yet, but hospital leaders said it will be mutually beneficial and improve health care access in the Northland.

“Liberty and the region deserve access to the highest quality care close to home. Together, we can deliver the full spectrum of care while keeping care local,” said Bob Page, president and CEO of KU Health System.

Next, leaders at Liberty Hospital and KU Health System will finalize a non-binding letter of intent, which will determine all the terms of the final agreement. Leaders will announce the final agreement in the coming months.

In the meantime, operations at both health systems will continue as usual, the companies said.