This final rule amends a number of existing provisions in the WIC program regulations to address issues raised by WIC state agencies, other members of the WIC community, and the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). This final rule also incorporates recent legislation and certain longstanding program policies and state agency practices into the regulations. Further, the final rule also streamlines certain requirements in the regulations.
In particular, this rulemaking streamlines the Federal requirements for financial and participation reporting by state agencies, and clarifies the requirements pertaining to the confidentiality of WIC information in order to strengthen coordination with public organizations and private physicians. It also incorporates recent legislation which provided the WIC state agencies with the option to extend the certification period for breastfeeding women. Further, it incorporates longstanding program policies and state agency practices into the regulations regarding state agency responses to subpoenas and other court-ordered requests for confidential information. Other provisions in this final rule are designed to improve eligibility determinations, incorporating program policies and state agency practices that have been in effect for some time.
These changes are intended to reinforce program policies and state agency practices that strengthen services to WIC participants, improve program administration, and increase state agency flexibility in managing the program. Many of these provisions are options the state agency may choose to implement in operating the program.