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METAIRIE, La. -- A hospital consultant compelled to appear before the Jefferson Parish Council this week says it won't be attending the special hearing.

The Parish paid Kaufman Hall $1.3 million to help pick a private partner to manage Jefferson Parish's two public hospitals.

Council members wanted the firm to make a public disclosure as to its final pick during a meeting on Thursday.

The chairman of the West Jefferson Hospital Board claims Kaufman Hall recommended all three finalists in recent months. The finalists include Louisiana Children's Medical Center, HCA, and Ocshner Health Systems.

Kaufman Hall CEO, Terri Wareham sent an email to the parish attorney saying: 'no one from Kaufman Hall can attend the October 24 meeting as requested. Our firm's annual client conference is October 23-25 in Chicago with over 500 attendees.'

Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Chris Roberts released a statement saying: 'at no time in this process, have I been in direct contact with Ms. Wareham or aware of any potential conflicts which may have prevented her appearance. Ms. Wareham did acknowledge the council's request, stated a conflict, but does not elaborate on the possibility of future available dates.'

Thursday's special meeting has been cancelled.

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