As the DWC starts its transition to a "less paper" world, the workers' comp community will need to have ready access to everything related to EAMS (Electronic Adjudication Management System.) How will conferences and trials be conducted? What type of equipment do I need to use EAMS? How will privacy concerns be addressed?
I. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
All of these questions and more can be found on the DWC website by clicking on: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EAMS/EAMS_FAQs.htm The following is an excerpt from that link of Frequently Asked Questions:
"Q: How will forms that now are filled out by hand, such as the MSC statement and the C&R forms, at the district offices be handled under EAMS? A: Parties will be provided with the new forms that they can fill out and submit, along with the requisite document cover sheets and separator sheets so they can be scanned in. Documents must be neat and legible so the data recognition feature in DWC's scanners can capture as much information as possible."
"Q: I have software to automatically populate forms so I don't have to do it manually. Will it work with EAMS? A: DWC is working with many third-party vendors to make its new, fillable, OCR forms compatible with "auto-populate" software and expects that technology to be available later this summer. Additionally, the DWC is working on ways to make e-forms (the electronic version of forms that will be available when external users are fully phased into EAMS) compatible with "auto-populate" software. Stay tuned for more details as this develops."
"Q: Will hard copies of case files or documents be destroyed after being scanned? A: DWC will not destroy documents immediately. Legacy files, or those that currently exist, will be scanned into EAMS when the case comes up for trial. After scanning, the paper version of the legacy file will be kept for 30 days. Newly submitted paper documents will be kept for 14 days after being scanned into the system. Remember, EAMS is fundamentally the DWC's case management system so case participants will still need to keep their own files, which will contain documents beyond what the DWC needs to resolve a dispute."
II. Log On to the DWC Website
The DWC website is full of useful information on EAMS and can be accessed at: www.dwc.ca.gov/eams. In addition to the list of FAQs, there is also a link to past press releases and newsletters on EAMS, as well as a Glossary that includes definitions for new terms such as: ADJ: A district office adjudication case. Legacy system: The current system of record, like DEU's system or the WCAB online system. Linked case: Cases that have some sort of relationship with each other are "linked" cases. Case linking is a sign cases need to be designated as master case or non-master cases.
III. Review the New Regulations
The WCAB and the Court Administrator of the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) have separate rule-making authority. (LC §5307) Both the Court Administrator and the WCAB commissioners are currently in the process of drafting new regulations to help practitioners navigate the new electronic system. The Court Administrator's new regs. will be found at 8 CCR §§10210 to 10296. These will include topics such as procedures under EAMS, filing of documents, judicial procedures and access to records. The WCAB's new regs will be found at 8 CCR §§10301 - 10953 and will include topics such as venue, jurisdiction, pleadings, exhibits, service of documents, appeals procedures and sanctions.
The Court Administrator's proposed regulations were posted for informal public comment on the DWC Web forum from 3.19.08 to 3. 25.08 The next step will be for the proposed regulations to go through the formal notice and public comment rulemaking procedure of the Administrative Procedure Act. This means they will first be posted at the following website: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/dwcRulemaking.html Thereafter, public hearings will be held to illicit further comment and finally they will be shipped off to OAL for final approval.
Stay up to date on rulemaking and other news from the DWC by signing up for the DWC Newsline, the division's longstanding communications channel. Go to: DWCNewsline@dir.ca.gov. The new proposed regs from the WCAB are still at the initial stage.
The WCAB forum comment period closed on 4.28.08, but the regs and the informal comments can still be found at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/WCAB/WCABForum
IV. Sign up for the EAMS Insider
To be kept informed on continuing updates on EAMS specifically, sign up for the EAMS Insider by sending a request to EAMS@dir.ca.gov. EAMS Insider is a periodic e-newsletter that provides up to the minute developments on the implementation of EAMS. Key staff members should also sign up to receive the newsletter, as it will be helpful for everyone to keep current on the new forms and procedures. DWC eagerly welcomes community involvement and input. Please send all comments, concerns and suggestions to the EAMS team at EAMS@dir.ca.gov.
This blog has been approved by the California Division of Workers' Compensation.
My experience with scanners is that, even if the text is fairly clean, they still don''t pick up all the text or they sometimes misinterpret the text. How accurate are the scanners being used for EAMS? What precautions are being used by the DWC to deal with any problems? Who will be reviewing the documents to make sure the scans are accurate? If there''s a discrepancy between the scan and the original document, I assume the original document controls, correct?
DWC scanners are of very high quality and will accurately read most text. When the scanner has difficulty deciphering characters, it will "flag" the text in question for a DWC clerk to review and correct, if necessary. DWC employees are currently being trained in scanner operations. It will also be incumbent upon those filing documents at the DWC district offices to ensure that their forms are legible and clean so that the scanner can deliver an accurate image.
In the initial implementation of EAMS (go live date in August 2008), what steps will the Court Administrator take to insure that district offices do not become backlogged to the point that they have a major slow down in the adjudication of claims? Will additional staff members be hired if the system begins to backlog because the staff has to scan in paper filings, which is very time consuming and labor intensive?
Internal programs are already in place to expedite the adjudication of claims during this period. In addition, the Court Administrator will do everything necessary to ensure that these processes continue to operate expeditiously throughout the entire IT roll out phase of the Electronic Adjudication Management System.
When will EAMS go live for attorney use?