A Boost for CHP’s WIC Program

Posted: June 1, 2016

State Boosts Support for WIC at Community Health Programs

Women, Infants and Children program in South County poised for sustainable future, freeing CHP from covering WIC shortfalls,

WIC Overview picThe Women, Infants & Children (WIC) nutrition program at Community Health Programs (CHP) has received a big funding boost that will help to eliminate the program’s longstanding budget shortfalls.

CHP-WIC, which works with about 850 families in the South County region annually, received word last month of a nearly $57,000 annual funding increase for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016, up from about $240,000. The WIC budget – a federally-funded, state-administered grant – has never paid for all the costs of CHP-WIC outreach and services. In 2015, the WIC program deficit was nearly $58,000, slightly lower than prior years.

Community Health Programs has typically covered the WIC program loss through other revenue sources from CHP’s countywide health care network. Now CHP-WIC will be closer to a self-sustaining program, said Philip Morrison, chief financial officer of CHP.

“We are one of the two smallest WIC programs in the state, and our funding agency realized that the funding formula used for larger programs was insufficient for us,” said Michelle Derr, director of CHP’s Family Services programs. “This was such a great surprise that I thought they had made a mistake!”

WIC is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture providing nutrition counseling, education and supplemental food funding for low-income, pregnant and post-partum mothers and to infants and children up to age 5.

“This new budget adjustment more accurately reflects the cost of services we provide,” said Morrison “Providing services in this rural area costs more, on a per-person basis, than it does for larger programs.”

CHP is the contracted WIC provider for Southern Berkshire County. The WIC program is also an essential component of CHP’s comprehensive health care services for children and families.

CHP-WIC has shown measurable success in enrolling eligible pregnant women into the program during their first trimester of pregnancy, consistently exceeding the state enrollment averages; early enrollment is considered a key indicator of maternal and child health for eligible women.

CHP-WIC operates under the Family Services program of CHP in Great Barrington. For information, call 528-9311 option 5.

 

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