The MODERN WIC Act would invest $ 60 million to modernize and increase access to the essential safety net program; Remote services implemented during the pandemic removed barriers to WIC benefits and helped increase child retention; Bill would make the changes permanent

November 26, 2021 – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday, with Senator Roger Marshall, presented the More options to develop and improve nutrition remotely in WIC Act (MODERN WIC) make the WIC more accessible to low-income families and help ensure that more applicants receive the necessary benefits by allowing them to certify and recertify WIC services remotely. In the first year of the pandemic alone, WIC providers reported a 2.5% increase in WIC participation and more and more low-income households continue to rely on this social safety net for themselves. feed and feed their families. To meet growing needs, Gillibrand’s bill would invest $ 60 million to modernize the critical safety net program and codify two waivers granted under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which simplified user access to WIC benefits throughout the pandemic by offering remote services. Currently, both exemptions are in effect until the public health emergency status expires on January 16, 2022.

“Introduce the WIC program in the 21st century will make these essential benefits more accessible than ever ”, said Senator Gillibrand. “Something as simple as loading a WIC EBT card should be easy and flexible., and should never be a barrier preventing families from putting food on the table. The MODERN WIC Law provide the necessary investments and upgrades so that all children and infants can start their lives in good health.

“I am delighted to collaborate with Senator Gillibrand on the MODERN WIC law”, said Senator Marshall. “I have seen first-hand the benefits WIC brings to mothers and their children, increasing the access and effectiveness of the WIC program for American families is a common sense solution in a post-pandemic world.D.”

“The remote WIC services implemented during COVID-19 removed the most persistent barriers to continued participation and resulted in a sharp increase in child retention. The MODERN WIC Act is transformative legislation that intelligently incorporates lessons learned during COVID-19 to create stronger and more inclusive WIC services, ” said Reverend Douglas Greenaway, President and CEO of the National WIC Association. “The MODERN WIC Act sets out a measured approach to preserving flexible appointment structures while strengthening the public health character of WIC by ensuring ongoing health assessments and promoting coordination with physicians. WIC families should benefit from the same options available at healthcare facilities, including online requests and telehealth appointments. As Congress considers the reauthorization of infant nutrition, we thank Senators Gillibrand and Marshall for their leadership in leading this urgent effort to chart the course for the 21stWIC services of the last century.

Our goal is to better serve moms, babies and toddlers, and the MODERN WIC Act is an important step in enabling us to connect families as effectively as possible with nutritional support from WIC., ” said Lauren Brand, president of the WIC Association of NYS. “From decades of research results, we know both that WIC improves children’s health outcomes and that outdated technology and regulations have long been barriers to WIC access and retention. Local WIC agencies have worked hard to serve nearly 370,000 New Yorkers each month throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis, and our participation has grown, thanks to USDA waivers allowing remote services. WIC will revert to in-office options after the national emergency health crisis, but as late advances in telehealth made clear from lessons learned during the pandemic, video and phone certifications should be licensed and equipped to continue. The MODERN WIC Act honors WIC’s public health mission and, as our nation’s premier maternal and child health nutrition program, helps WIC clinics meet healthcare industry standards to be 21st Centennial patient-centered and better serve the parents of this generation.

“The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and our members support improved health and reduced food insecurity for pregnant people, new mothers and their children” said Kevin L. Sauer, dietitian nutritionist and president of the Academy 2021-2022. “The Academy thanks the Senses. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Roger Marshall (Kan.) For introducing the MODERN WIC Act, which capitalizes on the lessons we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and will offer WIC attendees the ability to use the remote control . certification and ensure that all eligible mothers and children can access this important program.

We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Gillibrand in introducing the MODERN WIC Act ”, said Andres Vives, executive director of Hunger Solutions New York. “This legislation equips the first maternal and child health nutrition program in our country to be technologically responsive and attentive to the needs of today’s families. The WIC currently serves less than 50% of potentially eligible mothers, babies and children here in New York City, and the MODERN WIC ACT will help more eligible families get the benefits and nourishment they need for their lives. flourish.. “

More than ever, improvements to the WIC program during the COVID-19 pandemic should be made permanent. Remote WIC services implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic have helped remove common barriers to participation, helping to dramatically increase child retention. More specifically, the two exemptions that it is proposed to codify in this bill:

  • Waiver 1: Allow participants to obtain WIC certification or re-certification by videoconference or telephone;
  • Wavier 2: Allow participants to receive their WIC benefits on WIC EBT cards by mail or remote issuance, instead of physically collecting or reloading benefits in person at a WIC office.

In addition to codifying these two waivers, the MODERN WIC Law would provide $ 60 million in funding to WIC offices across the country to upgrade and implement technology to help streamline these changes to the program. The bill also requires the Secretary of Agriculture to submit a report to Congress describing the uses of remote technologies, the impact of remote technologies and best practices.

This legislation is approved by the National Association WIC, 1000 Days, A Better Balance, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Alliance to End Hunger, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, Bread for the World, Danone North America, First Focus Campaign for Children, FMI – The Food Industry Association, Hunger Solutions NY, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, the National Grocers Association, the Nurse-Family Partnership, RESULTS, Save the Children , Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, and WIC Association of New York State.

The full text of the legislation is available here.

In addition to MODERN WIC Law, Senators Gillibrand and Marshall presented the WIC Healthy Start Act promote competition and quality for infant formula manufacturers by creating an online database to centralize government solicitations. The database would be administered by the USDA and would help streamline the offerings of formula manufacturers to state WIC programs. Right now, an infant formula manufacturer would have to sift through all solicitations for contracts in all 50 states in order to make offers. This legislation will increase transparency in the tendering process and help prevent interruptions in the supply of essential foods for children and infants.

At the height of the pandemic, 1 in 5 parents nationwide did not have enough money to feed their children. To help feed families, Senator Gillibrand successfully led a $ 6 billion fundraising campaign for WIC, including $ 90 million to continue the highly successful WIC Breast Counseling Program, which provides critical support. among peers, especially in underserved areas, and $ 14 million for program infrastructure. Gillibrand also fought successfully for the inclusion of an emergency increase in the cash benefit for women, infants and children (WIC) in the American Rescue Plan, which more than doubled benefits for participating women and children. In March of this year, Gillibrand led a bicameral campaign of more than 135 members of Congress, urging U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to review and increase the value of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women. women, infants and children (WIC) food packaging to reflect a healthy and modern diet. Gillibrand also leads the Special Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and the annual WIC Farmers Market Nutrition program letters of credit annually and is a great champion in the fight against hunger.
Source: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand