New WIC registration program introduced

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Posted: Sunday, August 17, 2014 6:00 am

It’s all systems go for a new statewide computerized registration system for income-eligible women seeking to receive federal food assistance benefits under the Women, Infants and Children program, said Barbara Hedrick, director of nutritional services for Davidson County.

“We have rolled it out and things have gone well,” said Hedrick, in reference to the new North Carolina Crossroads WIC System. “It’s an ongoing process, but so far, things are going very smoothly.”

Although in-person interviews will remain a requirement for prospective WIC participants at the county health departments, the North Carolina Crossroads WIC System promises to streamline the registration process and make receiving benefits much easier.

“It does seem to be very user-friendly,” said Hedrick, in regard to the ease of use of the new Crossroads registration system. “It also helps us schedule appointments in a more timely manner.”

Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, Crossroads replaces an antiquated system created in 1984 that relied heavily on paperwork.

According to the USDA, N.C. is also the lead state in a consortium of four states using the Crossroads system. North Carolina was selected the lead state because it has the most participants using WIC.

Hedrick, who has 28 years of service working at the county health department, also said the Crossroads system is an excellent tool to assist her staff handling WIC registration requirements.

“(Crossroads) will help our staff meet the client’s needs better,” Hedrick said. “This will also help clients get an appointment that day.”

According to (DHHS) website announcing the program, other benefits the Crossroads system will provide besides easier scheduling will be reductions in paperwork and errors, fewer questions at checkin for prospective participants and easier certification.

The state DHHS also stated the new system will save more than 760,000 pages of paper a year. Crossroads also enforces all state and federal requirements under the former paper-based system.

Josephine Cialone, head of the Nutrition Services Branch of (DHHS) Division of Public Health, said the emphasis on the Crossroads program is based more on serving the needs of families, instead of the needs of just individuals.

“Crossroads is a family-based system,” Cialone said in a statement. “It reduces the number of times we have to ask questions of the participants, and it helps us to frame family goals and provide appropriate education to the entire family.”

For more information, call the Northampton County Health Departmentfrom 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 252-534-5841.

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