WIC in Vermont

Welcome to Vermont WIC!

MIS/EBT Project

Vermont WIC has initiated an implementation project to bring WIC services up to 21st century standards.  Following  a multi-year planning process, Vermont WIC will transfer and install the Mountain Plains State Consortium (MPSC) management information system (MIS) to replace the current 35-year-old mainframe MIS.  Vermont WIC will also phase out home delivery of WIC food benefits and implement online electronic benefits transfer (EBT), allowing WIC families to shop for their food benefits in WIC authorized retail grocery stores.

This page is a resource for WIC staff, WIC families, retail grocers and the public to learn more about this exciting project. Visit us often as updates and new information will be posted regularly.

Project Updates

October-November 2014 Update

State IT team members from DII, AHS and the Health Department worked with our contractors Ciber and Xerox through October and November to prepare for and conduct Contractor-to-Contractor (C2C) testing. This phase assured that messaging and batch files between Ceres (now hosted on VT servers) and Xerox was configured and functioning correctly.  A huge thank you to all involved; during November this important pre-User Acceptance Testing phase often involved daily telephone conferences and prodigious trouble shooting. It appears at this writing (Dec 10th) that due to the diligent work, this phase will be completed on schedule by mid-December. Again, Vermont WIC expresses deep gratitude for the persistence and dedication of our IT staff.

Meanwhile, Vermont WIC state staff completed all required configurations of Ceres in preparation for User Acceptance Testing. Food rules and food packages, the Approved Products List with UPCs and Not-to-Exceed pricing limits, VT WIC staff and their security roles in Ceres, all nutrition education configurations and other configurable elements are ready for testing starting in January. This huge milestone was celebrated with cake and frozen yoghurt, and a reminder that work will start up again in January on configuration updates due in May 2015 for the Production phase.

Xerox began contacting Vermont’s authorized retailers to discuss the technical requirements for integrated eWIC, and also to offer stand-beside technology to those retailers who won’t be ready for integrated eWIC by pilot in Rutland May2015, or by rollout to the rest of the state starting in October 2015. State WIC staff is monitoring the integration activity, as FNS procedures now require state WIC agencies to “certify” that retailer systems are eWIC operational prior to Production phase. We anticipate these certification activities will begin in March 2015 to prepare for Rutland pilot. The three major grocery chains in our network (Price Chopper, Hannaford, and Shaws) will all be ready for certification shortly. Xerox will work with Dumac, the IT contractor for Mac’s Markets and for the many small grocers affiliated with Associated Grocers of New England, in order to facility integrated eWIC for all of those retailers.  Our shared goal with Xerox is to launch eWIC with as many integrated retailers as we can, and minimize the number of grocers using stand-beside technology.

State WIC staff began planning and preparation for the 2015 reauthorization of our grocer network. New selection criteria and minimum inventory requirements were adopted. Application packages will be sent to statewide chains and Rutland area grocers in January 2015, and authorization must be completed in time for pilot starting June 2015. The rest of the network will receive their application packages in March 2015 for completion of the process by September 30, when current agreements expire.

State WIC staff started development of a toolkit for District Offices called the Vermont Ceres/eWIC Readiness Toolkit (V-CeRT), to aid the districts in their preparation to convert to Ceres and eWIC. Modelled after the toolkit used in Oregon for conversion from WIC vouchers to eWIC, the Vermont toolkit serves the double duty for our change from a paper record WIC to the electronic Ceres MIS, and from home delivery to eWIC. V-CeRT will include timelines, checklists, and guides for the districts to prepare staff, as well as participants, local partners, and other regional and local state agency staff for the coming changes.  The WIC director also established a task force of district office WIC directors and supervisors to help identify clinic flow changes and district needs for conversion and rollout.

WIC also has contracted with a communications firm to design participant education materials. We are very excited about some of their ideas, which include developing videos explaining eWIC and the WIC card, using the “whiteboard” animation techniques used in some national ad campaigns.

Project Schedule

Technical Information

Information for Retail Grocers

General Information for Grocers

Technical Information for Grocers

WIC EBT Seminars for Vermont Grocers

Seminars are in WMV format

Other Information

Questions and Answers

Readiness Coordinator Network

The Readiness Coordinator Network are WIC staff members from each District Health Office who have volunteered to help their colleagues and WIC participants understand and prepare for the changes that will come with the new WIC information system and the migration from home delivery to WIC EBT. If you want to learn more about these changes and help spread the word, contact your RCN member.

Information about the Readiness Coordinator Network (RCN)

Change Management

Link to Readiness Coordinator Webpage

Barre Courtney Pletzer (802) 479-8564
Bennington Sheilah Printz (802) 447-6411
Brattleboro Dawn Gragen (802) 251-2103
Burlington Wendy Needham (802) 951-0060
Middlebury Jeffrey Heath (802) 388-5740
Morrisville Lynne Bortree (802) 888-1356
Newport Lorri Lepage (802) 334-4389
Newport Betty Trucott (802) 334-3321
Rutland Bonny Lee (802) 786-5105
St. Albans Andrea Miller (802) 527-5588
St. Albans Gillian Marchessault (802) 524-7971
St. Johnsbury Nicole Churchill (802) 748-0172
Springfield Deanna Wilbur (802) 885-8929
White River Jct Maria Ahearn-Hutchinson (802) 281-5022
WIC Central Lynne Bortree (802) 652-4186

 

Information about the Readiness Coordinator Network (RCN)

What is the Readiness Coordinator Network (RCN)?

It is a network of people from each District Office (DO) that serve as a conduit of information to and from their colleagues and the project team. The RCN is a critical component for readying WIC staff and participants for the changes that will be taking place in WIC clinics and WIC food delivery when Vermont WIC implements a new Management Information System (MIS) and Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT).

Who are Readiness Coordinators (RC)?

RCs are people who are respected within their department, effective in executing assignments, motivators for people around them, and positive about change. RCs also have excellent communication skills and access to all District Office WIC employees including the DO management team.

How many RCs are there?

Every District Office has at least one RC.

How will RCs get information about the project?

The RCN will meet by webinar once a month for 30 minutes to one hour. This webpage is the site for RCN news, tools and messages, and the materials from the webinars are posted here. We’ll use the DO Facebook pages, blogs, texting, email blasts, posters and other strategies for communicating with RCN members, their colleagues, WIC participants and other stakeholders.

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Change Management

When the usual way of “doing business” changes, it’s sometimes hard for people to adjust. They may be skeptical about the reasons, or worried they can’t adapt. Change Management is an approach to implementing changes in a way that supports the people on the front line of change. The goal is to help them adapt without stress and be ready to take full advantage of the change that is presented to them.

The Vermont WIC Program, following the lead of the Vermont Department of Information and Innovation (VT DII), has adopted the ADKAR® model for change management. This model has been derived from the study of successful programs to implement major changes in businesses, schools, and government, and approaches change on the level of each individual affected by the change. There are five building blocks; each is a stage over the course of an implementation where communication, training, and leadership is focused to support the individual.

    • Awareness of the need for change
    • Desire to participate and support the change
    • Knowledge on how to change
    • Ability to implement the required skills and behaviors
    • Reinforcement to sustain the change

The Readiness Coordinator Network is a key resource for carrying the change management model into the WIC staff in District Offices, and through the DO staff to the WIC participants as well.

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Page updated12/15/2014