Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Utah’s WIC Program Launches an Innovative Approach for Clients with Special Nutritional Needs

(Salt Lake City, UT) – In a first-of-its-kind approach, Utah’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program has partnered with Intermountain Healthcare and Utah-based UHIN to develop a secure, HIPPA compliant electronic transmission process for submitting prescriptions to Salt Lake County’s WIC clinics. These prescriptions cover medical formulas and food that have been determined to be medically necessary for Utah WIC participants with special nutritional needs that cannot be met with conventional healthy foods available in grocery stores. 

Currently, WIC clients with special nutritional needs must go through a manual hard copy process that involves physicians completing the Utah WIC Formula and Food Authorization Form (FAFAF) which is then given to the patient to take to a WIC clinic.  Unfortunately, due to incomplete forms which can take up to three weeks to correct, clients may experience significant delays which could have an adverse impact on the nutritional status of high risk, medically fragile infants and children. 

This new electronic process means that Intermountain Healthcare doctors, upon determining that a child or infant covered by WIC needs a special formula, will simply open the WIC module in their EMR, complete the required data fields and transmit the prescription electronically to the appropriate Salt Lake County WIC clinic via cHIE Direct, UHIN’s secure email system based on nationally-accepted standards. Chris Furner, WIC Services Director says, “We’re grateful to UHIN for making the interoperability of these documents possible.”

Officials believe this process will dramatically improve communications between the health care providers and the Salt Lake WIC staff creating a faster, safer, and easier process for everyone.  

This process will be piloted in mid-July with certain Intermountain Healthcare physicians and the Salt Lake County Health Department, which operates Salt Lake County’s WIC Program.  The Utah WIC Program expects that other medical entities will follow suit and implement an electronic process for submitting prescriptions to any Utah WIC clinic throughout the state.  

Media Contact:
Phyllis Crowley
Utah WIC Program