Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) Insider

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Issue 22 May 27, 2010

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 month, 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.)

EAMS updates

Recent issues of the Insider have discussed the EAMS External User Access Project, which will increase external user access to the system once it is scoped and funded. And last issue we brought you up-to-date on the fast-track “present term solution,” which will provide limited bulk electronic filing and greater access to case information. The present term solution, or PTS for short, is designed to get as much paper out of the current filing system as quickly as possible. The PTS is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year.

The Insider will continue to update you as the new filing process is being built. We’ll also be posting related information on the EAMS Web site, including a graphic chart that will show the progress of PTS development. Look for these Web site updates soon.

We’re also making efforts to get more filers to join the e-forms trial. Last month we had a Q&A with Judge Chuck Ellison, the trial administrator. This month we asked e-filers to tell us their stories.

Jim Vandersloot is a trial attorney and partner with Larson, Vandersloot & Rivers law firm. “We're a busy applicant's practice and have been e-filers since the first trial group opened in 2008,” he says. “We do promote e-filing to a broad group of applicant's attorneys and have had numerous firms sign up on our recommendations.”

At the Larson, Vandersloot & Rivers office in Richmond, five people share a logon and password to use EAMS: two attorneys and three support staff. “One person in particular does Applications [for Adjudication of Claim],” Vandersloot says. “The application does require lengthy focus. It’s about a 20-minute process for the app from stem to stern. The others [forms] are a breeze.”

Vandersloot lists the following as benefits of e-filing: Faster document preparation time, easier and faster filing of documents, faster calendaring of mandatory settlement conferences and status conferences with the ability to choose conference dates, much more efficient and faster approval of settlements, and the ability to view filed documents.

He also believes the e-forms process excels at problem solving. The EAMS Help Desk offers assistance to e-filers on everything from filing procedures to human error, such as when a case number is mistyped. “If an error is made by a paper filer, they may not learn of the error for months,” Vandersloot says. “When an error is made in e-filing, the error is kicked back to us within 48 hours. We get a message that ‘This batch has been deleted’ and the reason why. We just sit down and redo it.

“The Help Desk is very responsive.”

While Vandersloot has some tweaks he’d make to the e-forms trial (he wishes his new iPad could interact with EAMS), he puts it perspective. “We have our gripes but the pluses far outweigh the minuses.”

On the other side of the aisle is Andrea Coletto of the defense firm Floyd, Skeren & Kelly. FSK has 12 offices in California and one in Nevada. Coletto is the e-filing administrator and also trains all of the staff e-filers.

The firm’s locations in Thousands Oaks and Orange County joined the e-forms trial at its inception two years ago. Even then, Coletto says, “It was really clear it was the way to go.”

 “Thousand Oaks has 13 filers sharing one login, and it works great,” she says. “Orange County has nine. Since then, we have joined six of our offices and we have now filed applications for our remaining five workers’ compensation offices, and are currently awaiting word to see if our Applications have been accepted. If they are, Floyd, Skeren & Kelly will be 100 percent e-filer!”

FSK files mostly Compromise and Releases and less intensive forms than the Application for Adjudication, but there is volume because of the number of offices. That’s not a problem, Coletto says. “In the world of e-filing there are no delays, and the ability to save time is a valuable resource for our defense firm.”

Among the advantages of being an e-filer, she lists: getting to see case file information, the list of parties associated to the case, view documents submitted by the parties, information on liens and lien claimants, a history of events in the case and their details, such as judge, E-filers also get to see the history of hearings and their details, such as which judges are assigned to the case. 

Like Jim Vandersloot, Coletto appreciates having timely assistance from the EAMS Help Desk and the e-forms trial staff when issues arise. “If there were any problems with the submission, e-filers are contacted by the Unprocessed Document Queue (UDQ), whose operators will advise the e-filer of the reason the submission wasn’t successful and will direct them to the specific page number on the E-Forms Reference Guide for instructions as to how to correctly re-submit the document,” she says. “This is all done in a timely fashion and the e-filer will retain the original service date if the document is re-submitted successfully within 15 days.”

In conclusion, Coletto says, “E-filing provides a great advantage over OCR filing and it has become a valuable tool in the way Floyd, Skeren & Kelly conducts business. And by this time, e-filing has been tested by all the pioneer e-filers and most bugs have been worked out, so there is nothing but benefits to gain from joining the program!”

The e-forms trial is open to anyone who files forms in EAMS. To sign up, visit the EAMS Web site to sign the agreement, read the conditions and take the computer based training course. Questions? Email EAMS@dir.ca.gov.

EAMS blog

DWC Judge Colleen Casey has 3 top tips for easing through litigation in her latest blog for Lexis Nexis.

Web site changes

For OCR paper filers, we have posted some updated examples on the Web site showing how to set up the following files for submission:

Update image Application for Adjudication of Claim - May 5, 2010
Update image Declaration of Readiness to Proceed - May 5, 2010
Update image Declaration of Readiness to Proceed Expedited Trial - May 5, 2010

One new example has also been posted:

New image Amended Application for Adjudication of Claim - May 5, 2010

These examples show each step needed to successfully submit your documents. More are coming. Let us know if you find them useful.

EAMS Insider is published every month 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