SUBJECT 1: Local Agency Improper Formula Benefit Issuance
SUBJECT 2: Upcoming Holidays
SUBJECT 3: FY20 Subrecipient Annual Financial Report
SUBJECT 4: WIC Local Agency Waiver Update
SUBJECT 5: WICShopper and WIC-Eligible Fresh Produce

 

SUBJECT 1: Local Agency Improper Formula Benefit Issuance. This is an URGENT reminder that on January 1, 2021, the Missouri WIC infant formula rebate contract for standard milk-based and soy-based formulas will change from Mead Johnson (Enfamil) products to Abbott (Similac) products. The state agency has provided guidance on proper benefit issuance; however, some local agencies have issued Enfamil formula products past the January 31, 2021 end date. Local agencies that have improperly issued Enfamil formula products that are redeemed past the January 31, 2021 end date will be billed for reimbursement of improperly issued benefits from non-WIC funds. To ensure formula benefits have been issued properly during this period of change, and to avoid a situation where reimbursement to the state agency is required, the state agency has provided a report and steps below for correcting any issues.

Please note the following:

  • Standard formula issued prior to January 1, 2021 for January redemption, will be Enfamil products.
  • Standard formula issued beginning January 1, 2021 will be Similac products, including re-issuance for formula changes.
  • No participant may be issued Enfamil products for redemption past January 31, 2021.

The state agency has updated the system to help eliminate improper formula issuance; however, the BI Portal Crystal Report identifies that local agencies have issued Enfamil products past January 31, 2021. If these formula benefits are redeemed, it will result in local agency responsibility to reimburse the state agency from non-WIC funds.

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED: To prevent additional improper benefit issuance, local agency staff must reset and update all work stations with MOWINS immediately.

IMMEDIATE CORRECTIVE ACTION NEEDED FOR IMPROPER BENEFIT ISSUANCE: To identify and correct improper issuance of Enfamil products past January 31st that has already occurred, please use the BI Portal Crystal Report, “Enfamil Issued in February 2021.” The report can be found under the Local Agency-Food/Formula tab. Not all local agencies have improperly issued benefits, but all local agencies should review this report to assess.

When participants with Enfamil formula products issued past January 1, 2021 have been identified on the report, the local agency must contact the participants to return to the clinic with their eWIC card for Similac formula products to be reissued to their eWIC card.

The following are steps to update these future benefits in MOWINS:

  • Open the participant’s folder, choose the Benefit Management Tab, then choose the Food Adjustment Wizard
  • Void Future Benefits (eWIC card must be present)
  • Create a food prescription for February 1, 2021 with the equivalent Similac formula (Note that future food prescriptions will be adjusted with the selected Similac formula.)
  • Reissue future benefits
  • Update card in the eWIC card reader

For more information, including a transition guide and crosswalk for equivalent Similac formulas, please review the WIC Update at the link below:
https://health.mo.gov/living/families/wic/localagency/updates/2020/november2-2020.php

Questions related to formula replacement should be directed to your Nutrition Technical Assistant (TA). For questions related to MOWINS, please contact the MOWINS Help Desk.

SUBJECT 2: Upcoming Holidays. The WIC state agency will be closed, and there will be no MOWINS Help Desk support, on the following days:

  • Friday, January 1
  • Monday, January 18

SUBJECT 3: FY20 Subrecipient Annual Financial Report. Each local agency must complete Attachment D - Subrecipient Annual Financial Report (located here) at the end of the fiscal year after the final invoice has been submitted. If the local agency has not sent this report, please do so by February 1, 2021. It may be scanned and emailed to WICOperations@health.mo.gov or faxed to 573-526-1470. Please contact Lynette Ricks at Lynette.Ricks@health.mo.gov if you have any questions.

SUBJECT 4: Local Agency Waiver Update. As we start the New Year, all waivers approved for Missouri are still available for local agencies to use as needed. This includes:

  • Physical Presence Waiver
  • Remote Benefit Issuance Waiver
  • Medical Documentation Waiver
  • Separation of Duties Waiver
  • Local Agency Monitoring Waiver
  • Extended Certification Waiver

The WIC COVID-19 waivers have been approved by USDA to remain in effect through 30 days after the end of the nationally declared public health emergency, unless extended through written notification. Additional information regarding the federal public health emergency declaration can be found at https://www.phe.gov/emergency/Pages/default.aspx. The public health emergency generally has no end date and is re-evaluated at the federal level approximately every 90 days. The most recent renewal was in October.

Please continue to report to your TA staff weekly on the waivers your agency is currently using. Guidance for using the waivers is found in the Missouri WIC Disaster Plan.
If you have further questions please contact your TA staff.

SUBJECT 5: WICShopper and WIC-Eligible Fresh Produce. The WIC state agency (SA) has received several questions and concerns related to fresh produce appearing as not allowed in the WICShopper app. Participants are encouraged to follow the guidelines provided in the Missouri WIC Approved Food List brochure for the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables for redemption with their fruit and vegetable cash value benefit. This information is also available in WICShopper by selecting the “WIC Allowable Foods” button.

Missouri WIC authorizes approximately 600 retailers statewide who receive fresh produce sometimes daily from many suppliers creating constant changes to WIC-eligible fresh produce. This makes it extremely difficult for SA staff to collect and maintain data for all WIC-eligible items allowed for purchase with the fruit and vegetable cash value benefit. Authorized retailers are required to map WIC-eligible fresh produce in their point of sale system to Price Look-up (PLU) codes included in the Missouri WIC Approved Product List (APL). Retailers are only to map eligible fresh produce. Retailers do not complete mapping in any other WIC food category.

If items believed to be WIC-eligible are not allowed for purchase with WIC food benefits and there is a sufficient balance available to purchase the items, then participants are encouraged to report those items to their WIC local agency (LA) or to the SA via the “I couldn’t buy this!” button in WICShopper. If the LA is receiving numerous concerns for a retailer from participants regarding food items not considered WIC-eligible, please report this information to the SA so that staff can follow-up with the retailer.

If there are other items considered WIC-eligible (e.g., frozen green beans), appearing as not approved in WICShopper, then please submit them to the SA for review. One option for submitting items for potential inclusion in the WIC APL is again, to utilize WICShopper’s “I couldn’t buy this” function. A second option is to capture clear images of the item’s front panel that provides a description and size, the ingredients, and the UPC, then send those images to WICFoods@health.mo.gov for review.

If you have additional questions, please email WICFoods@health.mo.gov or call the SA and ask to speak with the UPC/PLU Coordinator or another member of the WIC retailer unit. Thank you for striving to provide WIC families with the best knowledge and experiences!