The Pullman Regional Hospital Board of Commissioners will schedule a retreat soon to decide what to do next following the failure of a $29 million bond for hospital upgrades.
Board President Tricia Grantham said it could meet as soon as January to discuss the options going forward, including whether to put a bond on another election ballot.
“We have a number of things to take a look at in terms of the needs of the hospital and the needs of community,” she said.
PRH’s Proposition 1, which was intended to fund a 45,000-square-foot facility expansion and a new electronic medical records system, failed with 59.7 percent approval from voters, just short of the 60 percent required to pass. The expansion would include space for a residency program.
A similar PRH proposition in the spring drew a majority of yes votes, but voter turnout was too low for the election to be valid.
PRH spokeswoman Megan Guido said if the hospital wants another election, one of the main factors it will consider is timing. She said it will discuss which year would be best to run the election based on voter turnout.
Guido said the hospital is still working toward the residency program, which PRH hopes to establish in partnership with Washington State University to train physicians.
“We’re committed to the process and finding space on campus to make that happen,” she said.
Grantham said the board was disappointed in the election results but encouraged by the fact the majority of voters supported the bond.
“That certainly gives us something to build on,” she said.
Grantham said community members told her they appreciated the hospital’s efforts to raise awareness of Proposition 1, whether it was through making signs visible around town or through making the information easily accessible on the PRH website.
“People felt there was a lot of merit to what we were proposing,” she said.
Given how close the bond came to passing, Grantham said the possibility of a recount was discussed, but the board learned it did not have the legal authority to request it.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to email@example.com.