Single Source Procurement: WIC Local Agency and Vendor Management

Pursuant to New York State Finance Law § 163.10(b), The New York State Department of Health is presenting the following summary of relevant circumstances, and material and substantial reasons why a competitive procurement was not feasible. The New York State Department of Health WIC Local Agency and Vendor Management Program has made a determination to issue a Single Source Procurement to 94 eligible grantees to support ongoing currently funded projects.

The New York State (NYS) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides breastfeeding support, nutrition counseling, health education, health care referrals, referrals to other services, and nutritious foods to approximately 400,000 women, infants and children each month through 90 local providers (hospitals, local health departments and community based organizations) at 400 service sites. The fundamental purpose of the program is to ensure the health and well-being of income eligible families with young children. WIC provides individually tailored food prescriptions issued to each participant for specific types and brands of foods that meet strict nutrition requirements. These food benefits, valued at nearly $400 million annually, can be redeemed at approximately 2,700 authorized retail food vendors across the state.

The role of WIC Vendor Management Agencies is to solicit and review food vendor and pharmacy applications to enroll and participate in the WIC Program, provide training and technical assistance to authorized vendors, and oversee vendor activities under a contractual agreement. VMAs enroll an appropriate number of vendors to ensure that WIC participants can access nutritious foods, as prescribed. VMAs also provide comprehensive vendor training in accordance with WIC rules and regulations and monitor vendor compliance with contractual and regulatory state and federal requirements including minimum stock requirements and price competitiveness. VMA’s conduct outreach to area vendors when participant access to qualified vendors does not meet criteria, as established by the WIC program. They analyze the demographics of the assigned service area to ensure cultural factors are considered when determining adequate participant access.

NYSDOH recently completed an extensive project to replace the management information system (MIS) that dramatically changed how WIC Benefits are issued and redeemed in NYS. WIC benefits using paper checks have been replaced with food benefits via an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system. This new MIS called NYWIC is used by WIC Local Agencies to certify participants and issue program benefits. Before issuing a the next WIC LA or VMA procurement, NYSDOH must evaluate and refine this new way of providing WIC services and benefits. Before NYSDOH can update policies and procedures, NYSDOH needs time to observe the new business model.

Procurement / Program Name WIC Local Agency and Vendor Management
Contractor Name(s) Multiple contracts - See attached list.
Contract Period 10/1/2020 – 9/30/2022
Contract Number(s) Various contracts - See attached list.