State Highlights: Judge Greenlights Medicaid Contractor's Lawsuit Against La.

A selection of health policy stories from Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and California.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Judge Refuses To Delay Fired Medicaid Contractor’s Lawsuit Against The Jindal Administration
A Maryland company fired from its $200 million Medicaid contract can continue to move forward with its wrongful termination lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration, a Baton Rouge judge ruled Thursday. State District Judge Tim Kelley rejected a request from the attorney general’s office to delay witness interviews and evidence-gathering until January in the case filed against the state by Client Network Services Inc., or CNSI (11/7).

The Texas Tribune: In Austin, A Push To Combat Lack Of Black Mental Health Providers
Black communities in Texas and across the country face a shortage of black mental health care professionals. Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black college in Austin, is taking steps to solve that problem for students on campus (Diaz, 11/8).

Georgia Health News: State Health Centers Get $5.3 Million From Feds 
The federal government announced Thursday that it has awarded $5.3 million to 10 Georgia health organizations to create new sites to deliver care. Nationally, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $150 million under the Affordable Care Act to support 236 new health center sites across the country across the country. The funding comes on top of $19 million awarded nationally in September to create new health care centers, including five in Georgia (Miller, 11/7).

North Carolina Health News: Health 2.0 Attempts To Understand The ePatient Of The Future
More than 100 entrepreneurs, health workers and tech industry insiders gathered at RTI International this week for the Health 2.0 NC Triangle meet-up. Health 2.0, in the same vein as TED talks and South by South West, has chapters around the world that bring together different speakers on a single topic. This week, the Triangle chapter brought together keynote speakers on the future of the ePatient (Hoban, 11/8).

California Healthline: 3 Projects Push Personal Health Records
California is launching three demonstration projects to put personal health records in the hands of patients. California's Office of Health Information Integrity yesterday announced contracts for three pilot projects to explore the use of different types of personal health records. According to Pamela Lane, director of CalOHII, there is no pilot of this kind currently running in California, and she hopes it will be a boon to health information exchanges and providers, to see how personal health records can work best (Gorn, 11/7).

California Healthline: As Healthy Families Shift Goes, So Goes Rural Expansion Of Medi-Cal Managed Care
Rural Californians already have challenges accessing health care and changes to Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, could further complicate matters. Rural areas have fewer physicians and facilities and services are spread out over greater distances than they are in urban and suburban areas. Rural areas also have a disproportionately high number of lower-income, Medi-Cal-eligible residents which creates a challenging situation for state health officials charged with providing medical coverage in rural settings. On Nov. 1, the state launched an ambitious plan to transition Medi-Cal beneficiaries in rural areas from fee-for-service care arrangements to managed care plans. The move shifts 28 rural counties to the financial model the state is using throughout the rest of the state (Gorn, 11/7).

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