A New System for the DHHS
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program
By Mary N. Cloutier, OIT
"Build it once and replicate it many times." US Office of Management and Budget’s philosophy on WIC State agency system development
On April 17, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services posted a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit the provisioning of services for the implementation of a new State of Maine Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children Information System (WIC). Funded by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Maine’s WIC nutrition program provides healthy food and nutrition education to low income families. This program is delivered in partnership with private providers throughout the State, and the application used by the State and providers was in dire need of updating. Congress’ Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization ACT of 2004 authorized $30 million for states’ WIC management information systems, and it funded the USDA’s Successful Partners in Reaching Innovative Technology (SPIRIT) State Agency Model (SAM system.
Developed by a consortium of 13 Indian tribal organizations, the SPIRIT SAM has already been implemented in Arkansas and Missouri. Several other states are working to implement the system and several more are considering its adoption. Minnesota is poised to begin their implementation shortly, and like Maine, Montana is currently in their procurement phase. The SPIRIT SAM is an on-line, real time, thick-client web-services based system architected using the Microsoft Smart Client technology architecture, and its Detailed Functional Design and Detailed Technical Specifications Documents can be found at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/apd/library/SPIRIT_docs.htm The selected implementation provider will be required to comply with the current Office of Information Technology’s policies and the RFP explicitly notes “The application will be tested prior to implementation to determine readiness for deployment”, which is a requirement of the Deployment Certification Policy for Major Application Projects.
Based upon the number of companies which have downloaded the RFP, there is substantial interest in this project, and in response to a request, the original response date has been extended by two weeks to May 21, 2009.
For more information, please contact Cindy Hopkins, IT Manager at 207-592-2191 or Greg Schueman, Project Manager at 207-287-5366.