January 31, 2011 WIC Update

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SUBJECT 1: Surgeon General Issues Support for Community Breastfeeding Initiatives
SUBJECT 2: Survey for Translated Resource Items
SUBJECT 3: WIC Participant Nutrition Education Online
SUBJECT 4: EBT/TA Meetings- Registration Form
SUBJECT 5: Caseload

  1. Surgeon General Issues Support for Community Breastfeeding Initiatives:  We received a message from Douglas Greenaway, CEO and President of the National WIC Association (NWA).  Attached is his message stating the support of the Surgeon General of the NWA Breastfeeding Initiatives.

  2. Survey for Translated Resource Items:  The State WIC office has been providing resource items in up to 16 different languages available for downloading from the DHSS website and in Spanish available from the DHSS warehouse.  We would like to know if your agency has utilized these resource items between January 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011.  On Tuesday, February 1, 2011, local WIC coordinators will receive an e-mail message with a link to the survey.  Please complete the survey by February 18, 2011.  The information obtained through this survey will be used for planning purposes.  Therefore, we are asking that each agency completes the survey.  If you have any questions and/suggestions, please feel free to contact Takako.Tagami@health.mo.gov.

  3. WIC Participant Nutrition Education Online:  The new DHSS website has been implemented.  As a result, there is a new URL for WIC participant nutrition education.  WIC Participant Nutrition Education may now be accessed at http://www.health.mo.gov/living/families/wic/wicfamilies/education/.  Attached is a revised instruction form, with the new URL, that can be printed at the LWP office and provided to the participant.  Please destroy any forms containing the inaccurate web URL.  The revised form will be posted to the website soon.  If you have questions, please contact your TA nutritionist.

  4. EBT/TA Meetings-Registration Form:  We will have meetings in March and April at locations around the state for local agency staff to attend to learn more about Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) and give their input on decisions we will need to make regarding EBT.  Some of the things we will need to consider are: whether to go on-line (with magnetic stripe card) or off-line (with Smart card); changes we’ll need to make to policies; and the impact changing from checks to cards will have on participants.  The EBT meeting will be in the morning.  There will also be meetings with state technical assistance (TA) staff in the afternoon.  See the registration form for more information and to register for the meetings.

    These meetings are not mandatory but are encouraged.  If you have questions, please contact Mark Davis at Mark.Davis@health.mo.gov or 573-526-5323 or 800-392-8209.

  5. Caseload:  Concern has been expressed by some local WIC agencies that their caseload has declined in the first quarter of the 2011 program year. October 2010’s participation count was a 3.4% drop from the immediately preceding September, which is unusual based on the past two years’ data.  See attached graph.  However, Missouri’s experience is consistent with national trends that have been shifting downward since October 2009.  See attached graph.

    Caseload 2011 contract amounts were projected by local WIC providers and the state agency in June 2010.  At this time participation was continuing to be high and a decrease was not anticipated.  Some possible reasons for decreasing caseload include:

    • Many local WIC agencies were closed (or had fewer clinic appointments) the last week of October due to staff attending the WIC conference.
    • Birthrates have been declining since 2009, which means a smaller eligible pool of potential participants.
    • Due to strained local budgets some local WIC agencies have reduced or eliminated outreach efforts.
    • Some states report a potential chilling effect of anti-immigrant policies and sentiments.
    • Some participants may be getting jobs and thus are no longer eligible for program services.
    • With the improving economy, people who never before sought WIC services did so at the beginning of the economic crisis.  They may have decided not to continue with WIC.

    Actions local WIC providers can take include:

    • Examine your local economic conditions – are businesses hiring, are people relocating to other areas for employment opportunities, are more people working and unable to get to the clinic for services, etc.
    • Take advantage of outreach opportunities – review your local outreach plan, implement previously successful strategies, talk with other agencies that are serving similar groups, work collaboratively with other agencies and organizations to promote program services, etc.
    • Review clinic operations and assess the customer service - are all participants warmly greeted and treated in a friendly manner, is the clinic open when eligible working people can access services, are no-shows contacted and rescheduled, etc.
    As in the past, the state office will work closely with local agencies to discuss whether and when caseload adjustments are needed.  Please work with your TA staff on the particulars of your situation.  If you have questions about the attached graphs, please contact Jim Schindler at James.Schindler@health.mo.gov or at 573-751-6194.

Attachments:
Surgeon General Supports Breastfeeding Initiative
WIC Participation Missouri Normalized to National
WIC Education Instructions
EBT-TA Meetings Registration Form March-April 2011
Missouri WIC Caseload Graph '07-'11 November'10