Judge OKs Plan to Improve Health Care Access for Kids

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AUSTIN (AP) - A federal judge has approved a sweeping settlement meant to improve access to medical care for more than two million poor children in Texas.

The agreement likely ends a 14-year-old lawsuit over children's Medicaid.

The plan was approved yesterday by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.

Legislators have already approved more than $700 million necessary to satisfy the terms of the agreement, including rate reimbursements to doctors and dentists.

The settlement also requires the state to hire more Medicaid case workers and improve transportation options to help parents get to medical appointments.

Efficiency of toll-free hot lines and availability of prescription drugs also would be revamped under the plan.

Most of the changes take effect September first.