This interim rule amends the regulations governing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to strengthen vendor cost containment. The rule incorporates into program regulations new legislative requirements that affect the selection, authorization, and reimbursement of retail vendors. These requirements are contained in the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, enacted on June 30, 2004.
The rule reflects the statutory provisions that require state agencies to implement a vendor peer group system, competitive price criteria, and allowable reimbursement levels in a manner that ensures that the WIC Program pays authorized vendors competitive prices for supplemental foods. It also requires state agencies to ensure that vendors that derive more than 50 percent of their annual food sales revenue from WIC food instruments do not result in higher food costs to the program than do other vendors. The intent of these provisions is to maximize the number of eligible women, infants, and children served with available federal funding.