The University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s contract with Deloitte Consulting to study how UAMS might “integrate” with St. Vincent Health System — an idea itself fraught with problems for women’s health and other concerns — was tabled today by the Legislative Council and sent back to the Legislative Review Committee for more study. The Committee will convene a public hearing on the contract Nov. 8.

Council members Sen. David Johnson and Sen. Joyce Elliott said they’d gotten calls from constituents unhappy about any kind of merger between UAMS and the Catholic hospital, according to merger opponent Joann Coleman, who attended the council meeting. UAMS had said it needed to get the contract signed right away, but the senators saw no reason it couldn’t be delayed another two weeks.

UAMS has been criticized for giving Deloitte the $740,000 contract, which you’ve read about here, without taking competitive bids and after Deloitte had advised St. Vincent in an earlier job that it should ally with a teaching hospital for financial stability.

The Legislative Review Committee had earlier approved and passed the contract to the Legislative Council with no debate. If it decides at its hearing in November to approve the contract, UAMS may sign. If not, the contract will again go before the Legislative Council.