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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Community Health Choice and El Paso First Health Plans are managed care organizations (MCOs) that have contracts with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to provide health-care services to low-income Texans participating in the Medicaid program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The MCOs sued the commission and Albert Hawkins, its executive commissioner, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the commission to disenroll retroactively certain Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries from the MCOs’ plans based on the beneficiaries’ eligibility for supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. The dispute centers on the fact that underweight newborns weighing less than 1200 grams are eligible for SSI. Once they become eligible for SSI, however, the newborns are no longer eligible for CHIP benefits provided by the MCOs. According to the MCOs, the commission must retroactively disenroll underweight newborns from the MCOs’ rosters at the point of SSI eligibility, thereby eliminating the MCOs’ responsibility to pay for the health-care services rendered to the newborns from the moment of SSI eligibility onward. The commission urges, on the other hand, that no provision in the federal or state law requires the commission to disenroll retroactively these beneficiaries and that the contracts between the commission and MCOs expressly provide that the MCOs shall remain responsible for all payments during the hospital stay of a beneficiary who was eligible to participate at the time of hospitalization, even if that beneficiary becomes ineligible at some point during his or her hospital stay. Additionally, the commission contends that, because it was acting within its lawful authority to administer the Medicaid and CHIP programs, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to declare that the commission must retroactively disenroll certain beneficiaries and that any such declaration is an attempt to control state action, which is prohibited by sovereign immunity. The commission filed a plea to the jurisdiction asserting that it was protected from suit by sovereign immunity and the MCOs moved for summary judgment on their requests for declaratory and injunctive relief. After conducting a hearing on both the summary judgment motion and the plea to the jurisdiction, the trial court issued a final judgment denying the commission’s plea and the MCOs’ request for an injunction but granting declaratory relief in favor of the MCOs. The commission now appeals, claiming that the trial court erred in denying its plea to the jurisdiction and that the declarations entered by the trial court are in error. HOLDING:Affirmed. Certain declaratory judgment actions do not implicate the doctrine of sovereign immunity, the court stated. Private parties may seek declaratory relief against state officials who allegedly act without legal or statutory authority, the court stated. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code ��37.001-.011, the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act (UDJA) provides one avenue for a party whose rights have been affected by a statute to seek declaratory relief against the state. The MCOs’ requested declarations fall squarely within the Texas Supreme Court’s description of the type of suit against the state that sovereign immunity does not bar. The court concluded that the trial court had jurisdiction to entertain the MCOs’ claims for declaratory relief. The court did not err in declaring that the commission must disenroll retroactively children enrolled in an MCO who are determined to be SSI eligible. The trial court’s declarations were consistent with state and federal statutes, administrative rules and various contracts governing the parties. OPINION:Law, C.J.; Law, C.J., and Patterson and Puryear, J.J.

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