Our frequent correspondent Joann Coleman reports that a discussion of the proposed UAMS-St. Vincent combination, which had appeared on an early agenda for today’s meeting of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, didn’t happen. She says she was told the item was removed from the agenda because there was nothing to discuss.

Tea leaves would suggest this proposed merger of some services is not going anywhere. Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor’s stated objections to coverage of contraception and tubal ligations under private insurance financed by the federal Affordable Care Act was yet another signal of the immense difficulties that face a UAMS-St. Vincent combine. Would the bishop sign off on any form of cooperation by a Catholic-backed institution with an instiution that provides services to which he has a moral objection? Would a public institution stop providing those services so as to allow a merger to go forward? The path to a “yes” to either question would seem rocky, if not impassable.