Virginia Department of Health
Working With WIC
September 2008 Fall Edition
State WIC Regulations Implemented
WIC Regulations 1 New WIC Program state regulations governing the Virginia WIC Program became
effective May 26, 2008. These newly adopted regulations were approved by the Board of
Price Survey Forms Health.
Authorized stores, interested applicants and corporate retailers can access these WIC
Program regulations through the Legislative Information System (LIS) website at:
Vendor Manual 2 http://leg1.state.va.us/
Once you access the website, you will have to:
1. Click on "Virginia Administrative Code" under "Searchable Data-
Price Survey Dates 3 2. In the search box, enter (with no spaces) "12VAC5-195" since that
refers to the title, agency and chapter.
3. In the search box, identify the specific chapter you want to review.
Cashier Mistakes 4. You can review and/or print out individual chapters of the regula-
NO LONGER ACCEPTING PRICE SURVEY FORMS
MICR Errors 5 review their store
Effective Management System
July 1, (RSMS) is an internet- information and current
2008, the based application that prices with the State
Contract reauthorization 6 S t a t e was implemented in the Agency. The change also
Agency no fall of 2004. The system provides timeliness in the
Food Packages 7 State Agency’s
l o n ge r is designed to allow new
accepts paper Retailer store applicants to apply monitoring and the
Stamp Images ability to analyze price
Price Survey forms or for WIC Program
paper WIC Retailer authorization and changes and trends that
Lactose Reduced Milk 8 Applications. All retailers authorized retailers to can have an effect on
are required to submit update WIC approved store reimbursement
store prices and new items pricing data. levels and other business
applications using the functions.
online Retail Store The elimination of the
Management System. paper forms ensures all
retailers have equal
The Retail Store access to update and
The Virginia Department of Health is an Equal Opportunity Employer
PAGE 2 WO R K I NG WI T H WI C S E P T E MB E R 2 0 0 8
Vendor Manual Replacement Pages Distributed
In August (2008), Vendor Manual replacement pages and updated forms were dis-
tributed to all authorized stores, corporate contacts and other interested parties.
In addition, these replacement pages can be accessed and printed from our web-
page at: http://www.vahealth.org/wic/retailstorepubs.asp
All policy issues have been removed from the Vendor Manual. These issues are
solely outlined in the state WIC regulations.
REVISED SANCTION SCHEDULE
With the new Certain violations require a buys, i.e. secret shopper
authorization period and number of incidents in order buys. A secret shopper will
the new retailer agreement, to be a chargeable offense conduct two to six buys at a
our Federal authorizing that carries a penalty such particular store on separate
agency, the United States as a fine or disqualification. days. Out of the 6
Department of Agriculture The number of incidents compliance buys there needs
(USDA), has approved our creates a “pattern” which is to be 4 incidents of the same
revised sanction schedule. required in order for the violation to create a pattern.
This sanction schedule is violation to be valid and Previously only 3 incidents
used to list possible carry a sanction. Previously, were required to create a
violations that may cause a a pattern required 3 pattern.
store to be fined or incidents, but with the
Under cover buys are
disqualified. The schedule revised sanction schedule 4
required by USDA in order
has five classes of violations incidents are now required.
to monitor stores for
which are listed as A1
compliance with federal and
through E1. The E1 class is
state regulations and
a warning, violation, the A1
policies. If you have any
class is a state violation
questions about compliance
with a monetary penalty or
issues, please contact the
1 year disqualification, a B1
class is a federal violation
Specialist, Alex Acharya, at
with a 1 year
disqualification, and C1 and
D1 classes are critical
program violations with a 3-
6 year or permanent
The most notable The Virginia
change to the revised WIC Program contracts
sanction schedule is the with independent
num b e r of i nc i den t s contractors to conduct
required for a pattern. undercover compliance
S E P T E MB E R 2 0 0 8 WO R K I NG WI T H WI C PAGE 3
Price Survey Due Dates
The WIC Program will no longer send out reminder letters to stores
that prices are due. Prices are due as follows:
Prices must be submitted no later
Prices in effect on:
than the following due dates:
September 24th of the year October1st of the year
January 25th of the year February 1st of the year
May 25th of the year June 1st of the year
Sending out quarterly reminders via paper is costly and time consuming. We are all
constantly challenged with finding ways to reduce our cost in managing the business
requirements of the WIC Program. Therefore, it is up to each store and corporate contact to
keep track of when prices are due to the Virginia WIC Program. Share a copy of this
schedule with the person(s) responsible within your company for completing this task.
If you want to receive an email reminder, please send an email note to the Vendor Manager
Coming Soon - New 2008 Cashiers Common Mistake Can
Cashier Training Video Affect Store Reimbursements
We are excited to offer you the new A review of rejected FI's shows that cashiers are
2008 WIC Cashier Training Video often mixing up the totals of infant formula, infant
this October. The 20 minute video cereal and juice FI's. The price of the infant
will be accompanied by a 2008 WIC formula is incorrectly being entered on the FI for 3
Trainer’s Resource Guide. boxes of infant cereal or 2 frozen juices while the
price for the infant cereal or juice is being entered
“This is an excellent training tool on the formula FI. Of course, this causes the
This is an for new cashier's as well as a cereal or juice FI to be paid at a lower price and
excellent returned stamped "over maximum allowed", while
training tool review for the experienced
the formula FI with the lower price is paid at the
for new cashiers.” much reduced incorrect price. Train your cashiers
cashiers as to handle each WIC FI separately and be careful to
well as a review for the experienced cashiers. Use always enter the amount correctly. Also, have
the Retailer Supply Request your bookkeeper double check the amounts are
Form to order a copy in DVD or entered correctly prior to deposit. If you have any
VHS format for your store. questions, please call your WIC Program Vendor
PAGE 4 WO R K I NG WI T H WI C S E P T E MB E R 2 0 0 8
Over the last have an e-WIC solution, EBT for other programs, and
couple of months although many states are is implementing an on-line
the Virginia WIC planning to implement one system using standard
P ro gram ha s over the next several years. magnetic stripe cards.
been conducting N e w M e xi c o r e c e n t l y Nevada will be implementing
a feasibility study completed a statewide an on-line e-WIC with JP
of implementing the WIC implementation process. Morgan EFS, which is also
Program version of EBT, Texas, which has issued their EBT provider. Kentucky
called e-WIC. The Imadgen 500,000 e-W IC cards, has contracted with CDP, Inc.
Consulting Service wants to expects to complete its rollout to develop an on-line e-WIC
thank all the retailers that in 2009. Texas reports that solution in conjunction with
completed the on-line survey, over a million e-WIC their new WIC information
participated in interviews, and transactions are processed system. This system is being
allowed us to conduct test each month, often with no created as an open source
transactions at their stores. errors and usually with only 5 system that can be ported to
Preliminary findings indicate to 6 participant complaints. other states for processing in-
that WIC purchases are Wyoming is in the process of house.
difficult for participants and changing from its current
retailers. These interactions system to the Texas/New The Virginia WIC Program is
are prone to errors, many of Mexico system. The off-line, excited about moving forward
which could be eliminated by smart card (e-WIC) system with this project; as we
using a card at the used in anticipate both participants
point of service these three and retailers will see large
(POS). Larger states is benefits by eliminating paper
chains that have “looking forward to lanes, faster
n o w
transactions in-checkout food instruments. Moving
a l r e a d y fewer mistakes by cashiers, integrated
implemented an e- and faster payments.” with 14 forward, we will continue
WIC solution in different providing updates to retailers
other states are e le c t ro n ic as well as make every effort
eager to change c a s h to respond to your comments
over to e-WIC in Virginia; register systems. Michigan is and concerns.
looking forward to faster half-way through converting
transactions in-checkout their state’s WIC retailers to
lanes, fewer mistakes by e -W I C . They have
cashiers, and faster contracted with a private
payments. company (ACS), which is
also providing the state with
Currently, only a few states
YOUR HELP WANTED
If you have an idea for an article or want to share your thoughts on what you think we should cover
in our newsletters; please send a note or call Gregory Chappell, Editor (540)580-1438
S E P T E MB E R 2 0 0 8 WO R K I NG WI T H WI C PAGE 5
FOOD INSTRUMENTS WITH MICR CODE
Occasionally, some local agencies may incorrectly print food instruments (FIs) without the proper
MICR font and/or toner on the bottom portion of the FI. (See example below). This section of the
food instrument (check) enables your depository bank to route a deposited food instrument to (CSC
Covansys) our banking services contractor for reimbursement.
If a WIC participant brings in food instrument(s) that have an incorrect MICR font, partial and/or
missing numbers please advise them to return to their local WIC office who can correct their food
• If you accept any food instruments printed with the incorrect MICR font, give your Vendor Liaison
a call. This will enable us to identify the local agency with the problem and have them correct the
printing trouble as soon as possible.
• Do not deposit these food instruments in your bank as they will be returned unpaid and service
fees may apply.
• Send the original food instrument(s) directly to the State Office for reimbursement right away.
Remember to keep a copy of all food instrument(s) mailed for your records.
We will process an ACH credit (direct deposit) to your financial institution for food instruments which
meet all pre-payment edits and are received within the spend dates.
Correct MICR Font:
TUNA’S SIZE IS CHANGING
All manufacturers of canned tuna September. your store receives an FI with the
are downsizing their cans to 5oz. old size indicated, it is okay to
Starkist has completed their can • Bumble Bee and Private Label accept this FI as you normally
size change and the rest of the tuna will be making their would. Make sure to deposit the FI
manufacturers will be completing change in October. following WIC guidelines as you
their conversion as follows: The Virginia WIC program will be would for all other FI’s.
• Chicken of the Sea will be making changes to the price survey
making the size change in to reflect this change in size. Until
the changes to the FI take place if
PAGE 6 WO R K I NG WI T H WI C S E P T E MB E R 2 0 0 8
In June, the Division of WIC and of 858 “retailer” slots are upo n t he num ber of
Community Nutrition Services allocated based upon the participants residing in a
completed a statewide number of eligible participants. specific community (56 store
evaluation of the qualifications of applicants); and
approxim at ely 850 stor e
applicants. This This year’s
evaluation process evaluation • Voluntary withdrawal or
was initially piloted in process failed to meet other selection
December (2007) identified requirements (12 store
and rolled out across the “best applicants).
the Commonwealth qualif ied”
during the months of s t o r e
February, May and applicants. A total of approximately 750
June. This evaluation process These “best qualified” store store applicants (including 41
was the first time that all stores applicants were identified based new store authorizations) were
equally competed for available upon the prices each submitted selected from this evaluation
“retailer” slots. All interested for a standard market basket of process.
stores, regardless of their WIC approved foods and
previous authorization status formulas.
were evaluated using price
competitiveness as the sole Store applicants not selected
selection criteria. have been advised of the
All selected stores will be Agency’s selection decisions.
authorized under a new Retailer All store applicants have the
Agreement, which became right to request an administrative
The Virginia WIC Program effective July 1, 2008. The review of their selection status,
continues to use a retailer Retailer Agreement is effective which includes participating in
limiting criteria, which means the for a three (3) year period. an informal settlement meeting
number of stores at the city/
and/or a full administrative
county level is identified. The
appeal hearing. Additionally,
number of stores needed to
A total of 850 store applicants’ these stores are eligible to
ensure adequate participant
qualifications were evaluated. reapply in six months. The WIC
access for each city/county is
The primary reasons that stores Program is proceeding with
based upon the number of
were not selected for holding administrative reviews if
eligible participants that reside in
authorization under the 2008 and when requested.
that community. Two different
Retailer Agreement include:
ratios are used, one for urban or
m or e densely po pulat ed
communities and a lower ratio
for rural communities. United • Non competitive prices (21
States population census data is store applicants);
used to determine which ratio • Past redemption history of a
applies to each county/city. lower than standard number
Locations that are more densely of participants served by the
populated have fewer slots store (45 store applicants);
assigned to them, since these
stores are geographically closer • Insufficient demand exists
to each other. Statewide, a total for certain stores based
S E P T E MB E R 2 0 0 8 WO R K I NG WI T H WI C PAGE 7
2009 Food Packages Changes
The WIC food packages are changing to better meet the nutritional needs of WIC participants. The new
food packages align with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and infant feeding practice
guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The next WIC Food List will be printed and distributed in spring (2009). It is anticipated this new Food list
will include the following changes:
Baby foods: fruits & vegetables Fruits and vegetables (fresh & canned)
Baby foods: meats Soft corn and whole wheat tortillas
Brown rice Whole grain cereals
Canned salmon Whole grain breads
Some of the other changes mandated under Federal regulations have already been implemented by the
Virginia WIC Program, i.e., prescribing low fat milk, reduction in quantity of adult juices, eggs, cheese,
For many of the new food options that will be offered, we have begun the process of documenting the
food package implementation requirements for Virginia. We are surveying participants and shortly will be
contacting retail stores to obtain their feedback on these important Program changes, as well. Federal
law requires that all state WIC Programs implement the new WIC food package changes by October 1,
2009. The Virginia WIC Program will implement these changes by the stated federally mandated
deliverable date. You can review the Interim Federal Rule online at
Before you deposit those Food Instruments - Reminders!!!
• WIC food instruments must be deposited within 14 days of the last date to spend printed on the food instrument.
• In July (2008), the number of FIs rejected and returned unpaid for this single error increased more than 300%.
• When stamping your WIC FI’s for deposit, make sure all five digits of your WIC authorization number are legible.
• For maximum legibility, the stamp pad used should be a solid, dark ink and the best quality possible
• You should stamp deposited food instruments with a solid impression of the vendor stamp.
See below for examples of bad image impressions:
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
D I V I S I O N O F W I C A N D C O M M U N I TY
N U TR I T I O N S E R V I C E S
1 0 9 G O VE R N O R S T R E E T, 9 T H F L O O R
R I C H M O N D , VA 2 3 2 1 9
On the WEB: www.vahealth.org/wic/retalstore.asp
Be sure to post a copy of this newsletter so that all your
employees can benefit from any WIC changes or training
provided in this edition!
LACTOSE REDUCED and LACTOSE FREE MILK
Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk. People who can not digest lactose have a medical condition called
lactose intolerance. This condition causes gas, bloating, cramping and abdominal pain. Individuals who are
lactose intolerant need to drink milk which is lactose reduced or lactose free.
Lactose reduced or lactose free milk products vary in the amount of fat they contain.
WIC participants can purchase lactose reduced or lactose free milk that contain fat in any of the following
Skim (fat free)
Lactose reduced and lactose free milk is approved by the WIC Program (please refer to the Virginia WIC
Approved Food List under “Other milk products as stated on the FI.”)
Remind your cashiers that lactose reduced or lactose free milk can only be sold to WIC participants when
prescribed on the WIC food instrument. If you have any questions about when participants can purchase
lactose reduced or lactose free milk products or which products are approved by the Program, contact your
assigned Vendor Liaison or the State Agency.