Published: Sep 06, 2012 1:59 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A bruising fight between Florida hospitals over where to put trauma centers is now in the hands of a panel of appeals judges.
    
Several non-profit hospitals - including ones in Tampa and St. Petersburg - squared off on Thursday against the Department of Health and lawyers representing hospitals owned by HCA. HCA is the large health care company that once was run by former Gov. Rick Scott.
    
Attorneys for the non-profit hospitals want the judges to throw out rules used by the state to approve HCA trauma centers in Manatee, Pasco and Clay counties. Trauma centers are used to handle severe emergencies.
    
An administrative judge previously sided with the non-profit hospitals. But the judges of the First District Court of Appeal hearing the case sounded skeptical about that decision.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)