A change in tactic and an upgrade in technology should get money into the hands of the poor sooner as well as allow state workers to focus on families rather than paperwork.
State Public Health Deputy Director Judy Martin said during a governor’s news conference the new WIC Journey drastically cuts red tape.
“Some WIC clinics used to close on certain days just to complete paperwork,” according to Martin. “Now, those clinics have replaced that time with actual face-to-face time client appointments. There’s a reduced number of monthly visits for some families to receive WIC services.”
WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children, a federal program designed to provide nutrition to families in need. The $3.4 million overhaul was funded through the United States Department of Agriculture.
Thirteen local WIC agencies provide services at 106 clinics for around 37,000 Nebraskans in need. All the WIC clients are connected in the new system.
WIC Supervisor Sarah Schram with the Douglas County Health Department said the upgrades by the state have gotten rid of a lot of paperwork, saving time for her workers.
“In that extra time, WIC staff can provide patient-centered one-on-one nutrition education and breast-feeding support and they can also make sure that those families are connected to the resources that they need for the best health outcome,” Schram told reporters during the news conference.
The new system is automated. It eliminated 23 paper forms that staff and families had to complete during a WIC appointment.
Gov. Pete Ricketts said the new WIC Journey program cuts red tape in order to more quickly meet the needs of the poor.
“If somebody is looking for our help and they need our assistance in the WIC program and they have to wait a week versus a day or two, I think that makes a big difference in the level of customer service, especially if you’re thinking about taking care of your family,” Ricketts said.