GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ciber's State and Local division that supports systems for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program run by the U.S. Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) has earned acclaim from the Utah Public Health Association (UPHA). John Booth, a Ciber project manager, was awarded UPHA's Hero Award for leading a Ciber team that implemented a new statewide information system. The software automates various WIC clinic functions and agency compliance with government reporting requirements.
"While the process of moving to a new WIC information system is long and arduous, the relationship we have developed and the support we receive from Ciber has been terrific," said Chris Furner, Utah WIC director. "The fact that our local agencies presented Ciber with a Utah Public Health Association Award speaks volumes to me about the positive working relationship they also have with Ciber. I appreciate their professional staff who have supported us throughout our project."
Specifically, Ciber designed, constructed, and implemented Utah's portion of a larger IT project for FNS, which is a division within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This newest system is the second of three national State Agency Model (SAM) systems to provide highly-configurable, full-featured computing power that enables state agencies to administer programs and deliver benefits to WIC program participants cost-effectively.WIC provides food, counseling, education and medical care referrals to help low-income expectant or new moms, their infants and their children up to age five maintain health-supporting nutrition. A federally funded program, WIC is administered in states, territories and Native American tribal lands by 90 different agencies. Given the diversity of these agencies, the WIC SAM project supports federal government goals of building one system and replicating it nationwide. Ciber has been involved in this initiative since 2006, and the company has taken a pivotal role in working with the Mountain Plains State Consortium, a three-state group consisting of IT experts from Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The Consortium was empowered by FNS to create a model system as part of WIC SAM, and several requirements guided system development, including Web-enabled technology, standard data elements, open system architecture, modular components from which states can pick and choose, as well as regulatory compliance. The system Ciber has built enables agencies to automate functions such as participant enrollment, appointment scheduling, record-keeping, as well as financial, vendor, caseload and inventory management. Along with enhancing service and reducing paperwork, Ciber's systems improve reporting and reduce fraud. Just as WIC SAM systems will help agencies run efficiently and save state governments money in the long run, WIC itself is a money-saver for the nation. Studies show that the program, which began in 1974, results in fewer premature births, lower incident of low-birth-weight infants and fewer infant deaths. Ultimately, each dollar spent on WIC delivers as much as $3.13 in savings on healthcare costs during the first 60 days after birth. Booth, who received the Hero Award, said that working on systems to help WIC operate efficiently is a reward in itself. Still, he was pleased with the UPHA honor. "Ciber is committed to being client focused and results driven and so it is a great honor to be recognized by a client for the work we have done for them. It means a lot to me, my team and my company," Booth said. "I am very grateful."