Pennsylvania deploys new food voucher reporting system

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deployed a vendor reporting system that allows participants in the state’s Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) program to shop at more stores.

The Agriculture Department has mandated WIC programs nationwide to allow participants to use food vouchers at any WIC-authorized grocer within a given state. In the past, vouchers were tied to a single store.

Pennsylvania’s vendor reporting system was designed to comply with the USDA’s WIC directive. The state’s program and 1,500 vendors – supermarkets, convenience stores and the like – use the system.

The vendor reporting system automates the process through which the state pays vendors for the food vouchers they accept.

Before the new system was introduced, that process was manual and paper-intensive, said Ann Griffiths, vice president and areas director at Ciber, a systems integrator. The company worked with Pennsylvania WIC program administrators to design and implement the system. The state will save more than $120,000 annually as a result of deploying the vendor reporting solution, according to Ciber.

The Web-based reporting system was developed in Microsoft’s .NET. The solution also uses Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005 database. Griffiths said she believes opportunities exist for other state WIC programs to use a Web-based vendor reporting system.

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