Have you ever noticed the side menu on the DWC website and wondered, “What’s the difference between ‘Participate in DWC rulemaking’ and ‘Participate in a DWC forum’?” Good question! The latter conjures up images of that classic Sondheim musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, with men in togas chasing scantily clad women around tall white pillars. But you’ll find something altogether different if you click on that link.
Why You Should Participate in a DWC Forum
The DWC forum is a tool for soliciting input from the community before proposed regulations are drafted. The current forum features “EAMS Present Term Solution document repository.” It includes documents explaining the “Present Term Solution,” technical meeting notes, questions, comments and a plethora of other information that is of vital interest to anyone who currently uses EAMS.
The legal community is an invaluable resource for the DWC. The legal community has the practical experience and the expertise to provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t work in the trenches. In order to create a system that operates well for the entire community, it is essential that all stakeholders participate in this rulemaking process.
Please consider sending an email to DWC at DWCRules@dir.ca.gov and request to be placed on the mailing list for notice of formal rulemaking actions. In the body of the email, please include your name, organization name (if any), address and telephone number and you will be kept up to date on all of the latest changes and developments with regard to DWC regulations.
Why You Should Participate in DWC Rulemaking
How does the “DWC Forum” differ from “DWC Rulemaking”? The forum deals with proposed solutions to outstanding issues. The rulemaking process deals with soliciting feedback on proposed regulations that have already been drafted.
If you click on “Participate in DWC Rulemaking” you’ll find every DWC rule that was ever put into effect since 2004.
For instance, if you click on “DWC rulemaking 2008 archive” you will find a section called “Regulatory area and authority” with a listing of all regulations issued in 2008, including the EAMS regulations. If you click on that link, you will be transported to a page with a wealth of information on the subject, including a history from where all of these ideas originated.
Word Version of All Regs since 2004 - Great for a Global Search
Perhaps, the most helpful bit about this link is the Microsoft Word version of the regulations that allows you to do an easy global search for a key word or phrase. Let’s explore a specific example.
Example – Notice of Discrepancy
Perhaps you received a Notice of Deficiency and you want to know how much time you have to cure the defect. First, download the DWC Regs for EAMS onto your desktop. Open the document and click “Control + F” to find “deficiency.” And voilà! There it is! There is an entire discussion on Notices of Discrepancy in 8 CCR 10222(a)(2), which you can cut and paste anywhere. It reads in part as follows:
“....(2)….If the document is corrected within 15 business days, or at a later date upon a showing of good cause, it shall be deemed filed on the original date the document was submitted.” (Emphasis added.)
But don’t forget to check the WCAB regs on EAMS as well, just in case there is a discrepancy between the “discrepancy regs.”
Hop back onto the DWC Web site and scroll down the left sidebar of the page until you reach the “LINKS” section. Click on “Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.”
Scroll all the way down until you reach “Laws & Regulations.” Click on the link “California Code of Regulations, Title 8,” then click on “Subchapter 2. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board—Rules and Practice Procedure (Sections 10300 - 10999).” From there, you’ll get to a list of all of the articles, so click on “Article 4. Filing of Documents” and voilà! Notices of Discrepancies are discussed in part in 8 CCR 10397(b) as follows:
“(b) ….The Notice of Document Discrepancy shall specify the nature of the discrepancy(ies) and the date of the attempted filing, and it shall state that the filer shall have 15 days from the service of the Notice within which to correct the discrepancy(ies) and resubmit the document for filing...” (Emphasis added.)
But Whoops! There is a discrepancy with the Notices of Discrepancy. The WCAB deadline is 15 calendar days from the service of the notice, whereas the DWC deadline is 15 business days. Which one should you follow?
If you look at the Notice of Discrepancy itself, you will find the following, “Per Rules of the Court Administrator, Title 8 California Code of Regulations, section 10222, please correct the discrepancies set forth herein and resubmit, along with this document.” So you’ll probably be safe if you comply with that deadline.
Still, the best practice is to fix the deficiency, per the instructions and make sure the corrected version is back in the district office within the 15 calendar days from service of the Notice, just to be on the safe side.
Make Your Voice Count: Comment on Proposed Regs
Aside from providing a searchable format of all the regs since 2004, this link also includes an interactive section.
Listed under the title, “Regulatory area and authority” there is a listed of proposed regulations and their status. Some regs have been filed with the Secretary of State, and are currently effective. For instance, did you know that as of October 8, 2010, a brand new DWC 1 Form became effective? You can check out this new form at:
Still, there are other regulations that have not become final and are still in the comment period process. The DWC relies on the entire legal community to provide feedback on these proposed regulations. Everyone is encouraged to review proposed regs and to make constructive comments. This will ensure optimum service to all parties who utilize the California workers’ compensation system.
This blog has been approved by the California Division of Workers' Compensation.
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