WHAT IS THE SAM PROJECT?
The WIC Program State Agency Model (SAM) Project is a Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 5-year initiative to plan, develop and deploy model information systems (IS) in WIC State agencies. The system requirements for each model will be defined by a consortium of State and local agency representatives. The model systems will have the following features:
- Modern Web (HTML/HTTP) technology
- Standard WIC data elements
- Open system architecture
- Modular components
- Compliance with Federal policy and regulations
WHAT IS THE IMPETUS FOR THIS INITIATIVE?
The SAM project was initiated by FNS at the request of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB’s philosophy on WIC State agency system development is: "Build it once and replicate it many times." OMB is also encouraging e-government initiatives with strong collaboration at all levels. Based on this philosophy, FNS developed a business case for the SAM Project and received approval from Departmental officials and OMB to proceed with the project.
HOW IS THE SAM PROJECT FUNDED?
The long range plan includes budget requests for $30 million annually, subject to appropriations, over a 5-year period, or $150 million total for fiscal years (FY) 2004-2008. FY 2004 was the first year of anticipated funding, and the FY 2004 WIC appropriation provided $30 million for WIC MIS if not needed to support WIC caseload. However, these funds were required to be used to support WIC participation and therefore were not available to support the SAM initiative.
Recognizing the importance of the SAM initiative, Public Law 108-265, Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization ACT of 2004, enacted on June 30, 2004, requires the Secretary to use in FY 2006 through 2009 $30 million for management information systems (MIS).
HOW WILL THE CONSORTIA BE DEFINED?
In April 2004, through a competitive process, FNS solicited applications from State agencies interested in participating in a SAM consortium. Applications were received from 16 geographic State agencies and one Indian Tribal Organization (ITO) submitting on behalf of 13 ITO’s in the Southwest region. Applications were evaluated based on a number of factors, including technical flexibility in selecting and adopting new technologies, need for a new system based on lack of system functionality, age of existing WIC system, level of technical infrastructure, and availability of staff. After careful review by an FNS selection panel and approval by senior management, the following three consortia were selected to participate in the development of model systems:
Successful Partners In Reaching Innovative Technology (SPIRIT) Chickasaw Nation is the lead State agency for this consortium. Members include the following State agencies from Oklahoma and New Mexico: Muscogee Creek Nation, Wichita Caddo Delaware (WCD) Enterprises, Otoe-Missouria, Inter-Tribal Council (ITC) of Oklahoma, Osage Nation and Choctaw Nation from Oklahoma; and Acoma Canoncito & Laguna Hospital (ACL), Zuni Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo, Five Sandoval Pueblos, Eight Northern Pueblos, and San Felipe Pueblo from New Mexico. SPIRIT has begun system design. In order to support this effort, FNS awarded approximately $1,280,000 FY 2004 multi-purpose/infrastructure funds and $1,061,000 FY2005 multi-purpose/infrastructure funds to the SPIRIT consortium.
Mountain Plains State Consortium (MPSC) Colorado is the lead State agency for this consortium. Member State agencies include Utah and Wyoming. MPSC has recently completed the planning phase and has procured a quality assurance (QA) contractor. FNS awarded approximately $500,000 in FY 2004 multipurpose/infrastructure funds and $1,010,000 in FY 2005 multi-purpose/infrastructure funds to support this project.
Crossroads North Carolina is the lead State agency for this consortium. Member state agencies include Alabama, Virginia and West Virginia. This consortium will be on a slower track as these State agencies have not worked together in the past. Crossroads has started the project by undergoing a BPR. FNS awarded approximately $925,000 in FY 2005 multi-purpose/infrastructure funds to the Crossroads consortium.
For more information on MIS, go to the APD Document Library.