Michigan Capital Medical Center's parent company last week asked a judge to reconsider his ban on its proposed joint venture with Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.
The Lansing facility said voiding the deal imperiled numerous business ventures in which not-for-profit hospitals own an interest.
It further accused Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley of selectively challenging Columbia because it is a large, out-of-state company whose entry into Michigan would increase local healthcare competition.
Ingham County Circuit Judge James Giddings had yet to decide whether to reverse his ruling following a hearing late last week.
Last month, Giddings voided the proposed 50-50 joint venture that would operate the hospital as a for-profit. For its share, Columbia would pay $43.5 million to the parent company, which would remain a not-for-profit.
Giddings said Michigan law prohibits the use of not-for-profit assets by a for-profit concern. However, he said, a sale of 100% of the hospital's assets to Columbia could be legal.
Michigan Capital argued last week that many hospitals own interests in for-profit ventures, including two in Lansing.
One was the Michigan Athletic Club, partly owned by St. Lawrence Hospital, which is part of Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Mercy Health Services.
The other was the Mid-Michigan Regional Dialysis Center, owned by Michigan Capital, Sparrow Health System in Lansing and several physicians.
Assistant Attorney General Fred Hoffecker said those investments involve much smaller percentages of the hospitals' assets.
"Michigan Capital is grasping at straws, to be perfectly honest," Hoffecker said. "This is the first time core assets are being transferred to a for-profit entity in the expectation of sharing profits. To my knowledge there are none of those in Michigan."
Michigan Capital's attorney, Robert W. Stocker II, said the negative ruling could diminish hospitals' ability to invest in all types of for-profit ventures.
Michigan Capital intends to appeal if Giddings reaffirms his decision.