The Trios Health board has agreed to spend $750,000 on a consulting firm to prepare a financial, operational and strategic plan for its future.
Quorum Health Resources is to work on a 120-day contract and be paid in three installments.
The work will get under way soon, said Marv Kinney, president of the board, which is officially the Kennewick Public Hospital District board.
“I think it’ll give us a good road map of what we need to do to improve our financial position, which is what we wanted,” Kinney said.
The board’s vote was 4-2, with Kinney, Don Campbell, Gary G. Long and Rick Reil in favor.
Jim Mefford absent and Wanda Briggs and Mike McWhorter voted against hiring the firm.
Briggs and McWhorter weren’t immediately available Monday to talk about their concerns.
The board took the vote at a special meeting earlier this month.
Members have been talking for months about hiring a consulting firm to help plan Trios’ financial course.
An ad hoc committee of three board members previously developed and sent out a request for proposals. The committee then narrowed the pool of responding firms, recommending two — including Quorum — come to the full board to pitch their ideas.
But some board members contended the ad hoc group overstepped its authority by sending out the request for proposals and narrowing the list without input from the full board. They also questioned whether the process violated the state open meetings law.
An attorney consulted by the district said the committee’s formation and most of its work was appropriate. But he suggested that once a draft request for proposals was drawn up and firms identified, it would have been prudent for the committee to return that information to the full board.
The board ultimately decided to ask Quorum to make a new pitch.