Texas Department of State Health Services
August 4, 2009

Upcoming WIC Improvements Affect Physicians

Major changes to the federal Women, Infant and Children program will enhance the WIC food package and affect the way physicians request special WIC-related services for their patients.

On Oct. 1, Texas will roll out a new WIC food package, which adds fruits, vegetables, whole grain products and baby foods to the list of foods women, infants and children receive under the program. There also will be an emphasis on reduced fat milk rather than whole milk for children 2 and older and decreased amounts of juice, cheese and eggs. Soy milk and tofu will be available for those who have a diagnosed allergy or intolerance to cow's milk or a dietary preference for soy products.

Texas and other states are implementing these federal changes to give people healthier, more diverse options and to encourage breastfeeding.

The most significant change for physicians is that they will be required to use a new standardized form to request special formulas and foods for patients with specific health needs. This one-page form, called the WIC Medical Request Form for Formula/Food, was developed with input from physicians. It is available at www.texaswic.org, under the Health Care Providers tab. There also is a new form for metabolic formulas called the WIC Medical Request Form for Metabolic Formula/Food.

Physicians need to fill out the WIC Medical Request form for WIC participants who have special health needs or require a specific formula or soy products. Examples of people with special health needs include infants who are unable to eat baby food by age 6 months due to a disability or developmental delay, or children older than 1 who need formula. Physicians also can designate on the form whether participants can receive food from the regular package or note if any foods should be omitted due to medical or dietary reasons.

“We encourage physicians to be aware of the changes, use the standardized form and know when to refer patients to the WIC program,” said Patti Fitch, WIC Clinic Services branch manager. “The changes are designed to encourage breastfeeding and help reduce obesity by adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains to the package.”

In August, Texas WIC will send an informational packet about the changes to 25,000 health care providers who frequently interact with WIC participants.

More information about the changes is available by calling (800) 942-3678 or going to www.texaswic.org.