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Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) Insider

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Issue 10 January 26, 2009

Welcome to EAMS Insider, the newsletter about the Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS).

The Division of Workers’ Compensation fields many questions from injured workers, employers, attorneys, insurers, lien claimants, and others about the new system. This newsletter was created to answer those questions and share information. Every two weeks, EAMS Insider will provide information on new developments and what to expect during this transition. Bulletins will also be sent to subscribers for important announcements. (Sign up to be a subscriber at EAMS@dir.ca.gov.)

What you need to know

For a quick primer on EAMS, point your browser to www.dwc.ca.gov/eams. There, you will find a project overview, fact sheet, FAQs, OCR forms and sample filings, blogs from DWC Judges Colleen Casey and Bob Norton, application demos and a glossary. Even if you have visited the Web site before, be sure to check back often for updates, “how to” guides and other useful tools.

EAMS updates

The newest development in EAMS is that DWC is working on a way to introduce electronic bulk filing into the system.

Currently, there are two ways to file into EAMS: OCR paper forms and electronic forms (e-forms). Both are input one at a time, which is slow for larger organizations. So DWC has been looking for a way for a more efficient filing method for them.

On Monday, Jan. 23, DWC hosted the first in a planned series of public meetings to discuss possible filing methods. The meeting was at DWC headquarters in Oakland. Here is the presentation and a newsline with all the details.

If you are interested in joining the working group that is being created to create an electronic bulk filing mechanism, email eams@dir.ca.gov with “bulk filing working group” in the subject line.

e-Forms update

We just completed two introductory webinars for newcomers to the e-forms trial. This webinar has been posted on the DWC Website if you want to refer to it—it’s full of tips and tricks that will help you if you are just getting started in e-forms, or even if you have already been e-filing and need a refresher.

Round 6 of the e-forms trial begins this month, and there will be about 200 offices participating once everybody has received their logon and password. E-forms are Web forms that allow users to submit forms and supporting documents directly into EAMS over the Internet.

Correction: Before we proceed into the new FAQs, here’s a fix to a question that ran under the “About the OCR document separator sheets” section in the last Insider. Please make a note of the correction:

Q: How would I identify a trial brief on a separator sheet? I do not see it listed under any of the document types. 

A: The product delivery unit would be ADJ, the document type would be legal docs, and the document title would be “points and authorities.”

New FAQs: DWC is constantly making improvements to the EAMS Web site and is working to make the changes more apparent to frequent visitors. We are also compiling the new and updated FAQs and sending them out in this bi-weekly edition of the EAMS Insider. In this summary, updated questions have the Update image ”Update” icon next to them. The rest are new questions.

For the full selection of questions and answers, visit www.dwc.gov/eams and click on frequently asked questions under “EAMS information.”

Here are the FAQ updates made between Jan. 7 and Jan. 20, 2009.

Topics covered in this FAQ update include:

Filing in EAMS
Filing e-forms
Participating in an e-forms trial

About filing in EAMS:

Update image Q: Can we still walk through DOR’s for approval at the local boards?

A:Yes. The district offices may continue to set conferences via walk-through DOR’s. The original language allowing walk-through DOR’s was taken out of the regulations in anticipation of the parties being able to schedule their conferences (MSC or otherwise) via e-form DOR, which allows the filer to pick a hearing date within the range of dates returned by the system. Since a relatively small number have that capability, it was felt best to continue to allow the walk-through DOR system that was in effect since January 2003. That procedure allows the filer to go to the district offices with their DOR’s (up to five DOR’s) and have those hearings set, with the filer then serving notice of the hearing to the parties to the case. The district offices have been advised that this means the hearings would have to be manually scheduled.

About filing e-forms:

Q. I am in the process of sending out a stack of notices of representation, but I do not see a specific document for NORs in the e-forms. What type of document would I file? 

A: Go to the unstructured e-forms to find the NOR. The case type is ADJ, doc type is legal docs, then you will see the notice of representation under the doc title. You will add your NOR as an attachment.

Q: We submitted our notice of representation over a week ago, but we are still not able to access or view the file. 

A: Filing a NOR will assign a task to the appropriate person at the district office to link you as a participant to the case. As soon as that is done you will have access to the file. The time that may be required for the task to be completed depends upon the workload at that particular district office.

Q: I need to circulate a substitution of attorney form but I can't find one in EAMS.  

A: There is no form for substitution of attorney. You will use your own form and file it through the unstructured e-form as an attachment. Go to the unstructured e-forms, use the case type ADJ, doc type legal docs, then you will see the substitution of attorney under the doc title. You will add your substitution form as an attachment.

Q: I filed a substitution of attorney via OCR form several months ago. I am now an e-filer but still do not have access to the case. Should I go ahead and e-file the substitution of attorney so I can be added to the case?

A: The district offices do have a backlog for scanning OCR forms, so it is possible that your document is caught up in the backlog. Due to duplication issues, e-filers are not allowed to re-file documents using e-forms when an OCR form has already been filed. Contact the particular district office where you filed the form to check on the backlog and the status of your OCR form.

Q: If we send correspondence to a judge via e-filing, will the judge see it or know to look for it?  Should we e-file a petition instead if we need a response from the judge?

A: Choosing typed or written letter under correspondence will generate a task for the district office to make the judge aware of the correspondence and the need for a response. Choosing correspondence–other will not generate a task and the judge would not be made aware of the correspondence. 

Q: I thought the stipulations with request for award and the compromise and release were considered opening documents. I was told that I would need to file an application and get a case number before I could do a walkthrough for either type of settlement.  Why is an application necessary?

A: DWC has added the walk through radio buttons on the coversheets for all case opening documents, including settlement documents. You can e-file the settlement document, requesting a walk through. Once you have confirmed that the documents are in EAMS, you can appear the next day before the assigned walk through WCJ.

Q:  Can we attach a legacy C&R with signatures to the e-form C&R?

A:  Yes, you can if the signatures are dated prior to the passing of the regulations on Nov. 17, 2008.  Documents circulated and dated after Nov. 17, 2008, must be filed in compliance with the new regulations.

Q: When we try to attach a signed C&R to the e-form C&R, there is no option for a regular C&R in the drop-down menu for legal documents.  What should we select?

A: Use ADJ – MISC – CORRESPONDENCE-OTHER.

Q: I want to e-file a signed stipulations with request for award. Can I just submit it as an unstructured e-form stip?

A: No. The unstructured e-form stip does not generate the proper workflow. A structured e-form stipulations with request for award will generate a task for the judge assigned to the case, letting the judge know there is a stip waiting for approval. The unstructured e-form stip only uploads a copy of the document into EAMS. You would only use this option if you were planning to go to the district office the next day and have the stip approved as a walkthrough.

Q: How do I edit information that was submitted incorrectly on the application? Can I fix it via EAMS or do I have to do a new filing? I tried to use the edit button but I don’t have sufficient access.

A: External users are not able to edit in EAMS. You will have to submit an amended application, which will trigger a task for a clerk at the district office to key in the information and make the corrections.

Q: I tried to change an address, but received an error message that the address could not be modified.

A: Even though there is a function available for modifying an address, it cannot be utilized by external parties except under very limited circumstances. You must submit your written request for change of address through the unstructured e-form area.

Q: In the past we were able to submit forms even if certain information was not available.  For example, we have entered “unknown” for last day worked, rate of pay, etc. When I try to submit e-forms this way, I am not able to continue with the form. I have even tried leaving the space blank, but I still cannot submit the form. What do you suggest when the information is not available?

A: If you are dealing with a required field, you are going to have to acquire the information and enter it or you will not be able to submit the form.   

Q: We previously used words instead of numbers for the date and dollar amount fields on some forms. For example, last date a benefit was paid might be “ongoing,” or salary might be “maximum.” I have tried to submit e-forms using words instead of numbers, but have not been able to do so.

A: You will now have to supply specific and accurate information for the date and dollar amount fields.

Q: I am preparing an answer to application for adjudication of claim. On page three under paragraph one where it states “It is further alleged,” I need to enter two different weekly rates which do not have an end date because they are still continuing. EAMS does not accept the two rates in one field, nor does it accept “continuing” for the date. I would also like to include the total amount paid to date. How do I proceed with completing page three fully and correctly? 

A: In the field for the rate, you will have to put just one of the rates, then include the other rate under paragraph two.  Instead of using “continuing,” you will have to put the date you are filing the paperwork, then explain that benefits are continuing under paragraph two. You can include the total amount under paragraph two as well. You may also consider adding an addendum any time you have more information than you can put in the fields given.

About participating in an e-forms trial:

Q: Today our office is supposed to be starting the e-forms trial.  However, we are unable to log on. Please advise me as to what the problem might be.

A: Did your office did attend the mandatory e-forms trial training? If not, your account has not been enabled.

Q: We realized this morning that two people from our office had inadvertently logged into EAMS at the same time. The system allowed us both to log in and pull up a case file.  Neither of us received an error message and we were both able to stay logged into the system. 

A: When a party is approved to become an e-file participant, they are assigned a password and user name to be used only by the authorized administrator and their first alternate to file e-forms. While the system may allow multiple users to be logged on, this is a violation of the contract e-form trial participants sign. The EAMS e-forms trial coordinator is monitoring the user names and passwords to see that they are being used only one at time. If you have multiple users on the system at the same time, your office may be removed from the e-forms trial. 

How you can help

When you have a question about filing, email EAMSHelpDesk@dir.ca.gov. Our experts will assist you.

When you have a concern or question related to EAMS, email EAMS@dir.ca.gov. We will make sure it gets to the right person.

EAMS Insider is published every two weeks by the DWC Communications Office. It can also be found on the division’s Web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EAMS. Questions? Comments? Story ideas? Email EAMS@dir.ca.gov

EAMS Public Information Officer Peter Melton
510-286-7100