Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) Insider

EAMS insider image

Issue 9 December 15, 2008

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. 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. The main page recently had a makeover, and it’s much easier to find what you are looking for. Check it out!

EAMS updates

On Aug. 25 of this year, EAMS was born and began to take its first technological steps, bringing DWC into a new era. The shift to an electronic case management system changed a multitude of long-practiced operating procedures within the division, and this has had a ripple effect on those doing business with us: injured workers, employers, insurers, lien claimants, and others. We realize some changes have been more welcome than others, but they were all rendered to enable DWC to meet its mission of managing workers’ compensation issues.

With 2008 almost at an end, it’s important to remember that EAMS is all of four months old and still in flux. Change will be the order of the day until we learn more about the capabilities and limitations of this technology and how it can best be utilized. DWC knows many challenges lie ahead and we are anticipating them along with a variety of solutions. As we look forward to 2009, we want to caution that it will be another year of change, and one that will have DWC working toward permanent solutions. We have much to learn, and we appreciate your patience in learning this new system along with us. And we always welcome your feedback.

This will be the last edition of the Insider for 2008. We thank you for being along for the ride and we look forward to seeing you again in 2009. Have a happy holiday!

e-Forms update

The next round for the e-forms trial will begin in January. DWC is currently accepting applications for round 6, so if you are interested send an email to EAMS@dir.ca.gov with “e-forms trial” in the subject line. Include your office name and contact info.

People who already are enrolled in the e-forms trial can continue business as usual.

There are currently more than 100 offices participating in the e-Forms trial. E-Forms are Web forms that allow users with a logon and password to submit forms and supporting documents directly into EAMS over the Internet.

Training for OCR filers: DWC conducted two training sessions for external users in Van Nuys on Dec. 9, demonstrating how to file optical character recognition (OCR) paper forms and documents in EAMS. A session was also held today in Sacramento. A fourth session will take place tomorrow, Dec. 16, in Oakland, and space is still available. Here are the details:

Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008
2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Elihu Harris State Building – auditorium
1515 Clay Street

To attend the Oakland training session, send an e-mail to eams@dir.ca.gov and put “RSVP EAMS OCR Form Training Session” in the subject line. The body of the email should contain the name, organization and email address of the person requesting a seat at the session. Once the space is filled, reservations will be closed.

  • The DWC has posted training materials, including an OCR form filing handbook, on the “Working in EAMS” page of the EAMS Web site. The page contains a wealth of information for OCR form filers and those attending the training session should review all the available materials to prepare them to get the most out of their session.

New WCAB rules posted: Changes to the rules of practice and procedure of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) went into effect Nov. 17, 2008 and are now posted on the WCAB’s Web site at http://www.dir.ca.gov/wcab/wcab.htm. Members of the workers’ compensation community are encouraged to go to the WCAB and DWC Web sites to review the complete copies of the new rules of the WCAB and court administrator to adequately familiarize themselves with all of the changes.

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 Dec. 1 and Dec. 15. Please note that, in addition to the new FAQs listed below, the FAQs on the Web site have been updated to reflect that fact that the system is live and the regulations are now effective. Because these changes did not affect the meaning of the questions and answers—they simply reflect a change in the system’s status—we have not included those updates in this summary.

Topics covered in this FAQ update include:

Filing OCR forms
The OCR document separator sheet
Document scanning
Lien claimant-specific questions

Filing OCR forms

Q: If we were able to duplicate the OCR forms using Microsoft Word, would the EAMS scanners be able to read the text? This would allow us to use our existing case management system to auto-populate the OCR forms. 

A: It is the responsibility of the participants to ensure compatibility of their forms with DWC scanners. If your forms lack bar codes and do not line up exactly as the OCR forms available on the EAMS website, the scanners will be unable to extract the information submitted. If you would like to test your forms, send an email to EAMS@dir.ca.gov with "OCR Forms Testing Lab" in the subject line.

Q: When preparing OCR forms for submission, I have noticed that they sometimes do not allow enough space for all of the information required. For example, there may be multiple carriers or multiple periods of temporary disability to be included on a C&R, but the OCR form does not allow space for multiple entries. Where do we enter the additional information?

A: If there is information that will not fit in the space provided, you may type up a separate document with the additional information and include it as an addendum.

Q: Is there an OCR form to use for addendums?

A: There is no official addendum form. You would prepare your own addendum any time you are unable to include all of the necessary information in the space provided. The addendum must meet the scanning specifications outlined in the OCR handbook. Place the addendum directly behind the page if refers to, and title it in such a way that there is no confusion as to what it refers to. No separator sheet is needed for an addendum as it is considered part of the document.

Q: Can we send in documents with signatures in blue ink, or do they have to be in black ink?

A: The scanning specifications indicate only black ink on white paper may be used. For more information on specifications, please go to http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EAMS/SampleFiles/EAMS_OCR%20handbook.pdf.

Q: On the OCR C&R form, the drop down menu for body parts shows code 420 as the only option for back, but I need to limit the settlement to only the cervical and thoracic areas of the back. How would I do so on the form?

A:  If you need to be more specific about the body part than the codes allow, you may enter additional information in the comment section at the end of paragraph nine.

Q: We are attempting to file an application for adjudication of claim regarding a death case and a petition for guardian ad litem, but are unable to find the specific OCR forms. Should we modify the existing OCR application form, or should we use the legacy forms? What is the best way to deal with forms that do not yet exist?

A: Not all legacy forms were turned into OCR forms. For those forms that weren’t you will use the legacy forms. The legacy forms still in use can be found on the forms page of the DWC Web site just below the OCR forms. You will still need to include the document cover sheet and separator sheets with any legacy forms you submit.

Q: We are attempting to file a petition for penalty under Labor Code section 5814, but have been unable to find the OCR form. Where is this form located and how it is named in your system?

A: No OCR form exists for petition for penalty. You would prepare your own petition just as you have in the past, making sure that it meets the scanning requirements as indicated in the OCR handbook. You would also prepare a document cover sheet and separator sheet to be placed on top of the petition for submission. You can access the OCR handbook at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EAMS/SampleFiles/EAMS_OCR%20handbook.pdf.

Q: I’m looking for an OCR form to retract a DOR I filed. Is there such a form, or do I just send a letter? 

A: There is no form. You would just submit a letter with a document cover sheet and separator sheet placed on top. 

Q: I am looking for the WCAB data entry sheet used when there is no case number assigned, but I cannot seem to find it in the OCR forms.

A: The data entry sheet is no longer necessary. The information it provided is now included on the OCR case opening documents.

The OCR document separator sheet

Q:  When filing a DOR and attaching an AME medical report, would we use the doctor’s name as the author on the separator sheet, even though the doctor does not have a uniform assigned name?

A: Yes. The separator sheet in front of the AME report should show the doctor’s name as the author. (Remember, no special characters!) If a form or document being submitted was not authored by a claims administrator or a representative, there will be no uniform assigned name, and you would use the name of the individual. Please refer to the OCR handbook at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EAMS/SampleFiles/EAMS_OCR%20handbook.pdf.

Q: If I am submitting a deposition transcript as an exhibit, would the author on the separator sheet be our office or the court reporter's name?
A: You would use the uniform assigned name of the party submitting the transcript, not the court reporter’s name.

Document scanning

Q: We received folded and hole-punched original C&R documents from the applicant’s attorney. Should we make copies of the documents for scanning, or should we send the originals as they are?

A: You may send a first generation copy, which is acceptable for scanning. Hold the originals for your file. Do not send hole-punched or folded documents, as they cannot be scanned and do not send originals, which will be shredded following scanning.

Lien claimant-specific questions

Q: As a lien claimant, we regularly serve copies of invoices as exhibits at various district offices. May we group all of the invoices together with a single separator sheet?

A: No, you are not to file invoices at the district offices in that manner. The district offices do not want invoiced bills, only itemized statements. Invoices are to be submitted as potential exhibits at the time of hearing.

Q: What is the difference between an invoiced bill and an itemized statement?

A: An invoiced bill would list details of each individual charge, whereas an itemized statement would show a combined breakdown of the charges covering a particular period of time.

Q: We were previously informed that only the itemized statement is to accompany the lien, but the owner of our company and lead counsel has advised us that he wants us to serve all medical billing that pertains to the lien. Since our medical bills can be in excess of 25 pages, our staff submits the entire bill with a separator sheet inserted every 25 pages.

A. A separator sheet does not negate the 25 page rule. Documents in excess of 25 pages cannot be submitted without prior approval from the presiding judge at the district office. Only itemized statements are to be submitted with the lien. Any additional billing documentation may only be submitted as a proposed exhibit at the time of hearing.

Q:  We have a lien trial upcoming and have already filed the executed stipulations and issues and the proofs of service showing that the exhibits were filed on all the lien claimants. The exhibits are voluminous—more than 300 pages. Are the exhibits to be scanned individually, with a separator sheet for each?

A: You must bring copies of the original evidence you listed on the stipulations and issues with you to the MSC. You should have listed only evidence relevant to the issues to be submitted at trial. The copies must be brought to the MSC in proper format, including completed cover sheets and separator sheets. Retain the originals of all evidence in your possession, as the copies submitted to the court will be destroyed after scanning. Oversized exhibits and tangible evidence should be brought to the MSC and presented to the judge, who will assign a party to retain custody of the items and bring them to trial.

Q: When I’m amending a lien filed prior to the implementation of EAMS using the OCR forms, what do I use for the date of original lien? Would it be the date I originally filed my old lien or the date I am now filing?

A: If you have a pre-EAMS lien on file (filed prior to 8/25/08), you must file a new OCR original lien before anything else can happen. When filing this new original OCR lien form you do not put a date in the field “date of original lien.” This field is only used when filing an amended lien. Once you have an original OCR lien on file you can file subsequent changes to the lien as amendments. When you do this, you will use the date you filed your original OCR lien (the date you put on the separator sheet preceding your original lien form) in the “date of original lien” field. Be sure the information you provide on the amendment exactly matches what was on your original lien form (except the lien amount, of course) so that your document does not error out of EAMS.

Q: The top of the OCR document cover sheet asks, “Is this a new case?” My understanding is that a lien claimant would only check the yes box when actually filing an application for adjudication. Therefore, our staff would always check the no box when filing a lien form. Is this correct?

A: You are correct. If a case does not yet exist, the lien claimant will have to file an application for adjudication to create a new case before filing the lien.

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. Questions? Comments? Story ideas? Email EAMS@dir.ca.gov

EAMS Public Information Officer Peter Melton