by Sylvia Mitchem, Program Manager, Conduent Payment Services
This year’s National WIC Association 2017 Annual Education and Training Conference was held in downtown Philadelphia, PA. During the day, the exhibit hall was crowded with over 500 guests from WIC agencies and industry partners discussing opportunities and current challenges facing the WIC program. In the evening, many visited historic sites including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, or dined at Reading Terminal Market, sharing their experiences in the WIC program with old friends and new.
The conference kicked off with a personal reminder to everyone of the value of the work done every day in support of the WIC program from well-known Jacksonville Jaguars player Kevin Beachum and his mother, speaking about what the program meant for their family. The conference, which focused on nutrition and improving the health outcomes for program participants, had many highlights including the sessions titled “Beyond Traditional Grocery Stores: Partnering with Farmer’s Markets and Corner Stores in WIC” that provoked thought about how WIC EBT could be used to improve access to foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and “Improving the Retail Experience Using Behavioral Economics and EBT/Redemption Data” which discussed the use of EBT data to analyze cost containment and barriers to benefit redemption in order to improve participant satisfaction during shopping. As we listened to these presentations, we were inspired to consider how our Conduent WIC Connect Processing Solution can more easily provide redemption data and the tools for analysis to support these efforts.
As we look toward the deadline for the 2020 mandate, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) continues to push toward the goal of implementation of WIC EBT for all WIC agencies, even under increased pressure to reduce costs. Conduent matches this commitment with continuous improvements to our WIC Connect Processing Solution to reduce time to implementation of a full WIC EBT solution at the best possible cost. As this conference reminds us, WIC EBT is all about increasing the health of families through access to nutritious foods and always striving to identify and remove barriers to participation and redemption. For Conduent, this means seeking new solutions to streamline data analysis for improved cost containment, increased retailer access, and greater benefit redemption.