Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) Insider

EAMS insider image

Issue 5 October 20, 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
Since the launch of EAMS on Aug. 22, DWC has been fine-tuning the system, while at the same time training external parties on how to file their documents and on other key business process changes. Things are still evolving, and will continue to do so until the new regulations become effective and codify filing and other court procedures. In the meantime, we are learning valuable lessons from our external partners about their experiences working with EAMS. We appreciate your patience during this transitional period.

OCR forms update

The OCR forms on the DWC Web site (http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html#EAMSForms) have been refined a few times since EAMS went live. And what we hope will be the final versions of the forms will be posted soon, perhaps this week. The final versions will conform to the new court regulations, which are expected to be final in mid-November.

When a form is revised, it is noted next to the name of the form on the Web site list by date—for example, Compromise and release (Rev. 8/22/08). This is why we encourage you to download the forms from the Web site each time you need them and not save them to your computer’s desktop until they are final. That way you can be assured that you are using the most current version of the form.

Using the OCR forms is currently voluntary, and we thank everyone who is doing so. For those people who are still using the legacy forms, we would like to encourage you to start using the OCR forms now, before the new regulations make them mandatory. By the time those rules go into effect, you will be familiar with the process.

  • Did you know there are page-by-page examples of how to set up files for submission, using OCR forms, cover sheets and document separator sheets? Here’s an example:  http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EAMS/SampleFiles/Application%20for%20Adjudication%20of%20Claim.pdf

e-Forms update

Round three of the e-Forms trial begins today! We now have a total of 82 offices, including claims administrators, attorneys—both applicant and defense firms—and lien claimants, participating in the trial. What are e-Forms? 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.

Because the regulations that will ultimately govern the use of e-Forms are in their infancy, trial members participate by signing an agreement that ensures they will abide be certain rules for the duration of the trial. Using e-Forms provides many advantages, including:

1. They’re the fastest way to get forms and documents into EAMS
2. You don’t have to deal with separate cover sheets and document separator sheets
3. They allow your office to be one of the first to get a logon and password, which means you’ll be ahead of the curve in terms of knowing how to work in EAMS
4. They allow you to be more efficient because you can file between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“My firm has been involved with EAMS from the external users’ pilot, up through go-live and now as e-form filers,” says Yvonne Lang of Pearlman, Borska & Wax. “There have been some challenges learning how to enter information and file in EAMS, but we are learning how to file more effectively EVERY DAY. Our successes are far outweighing the failures! I love being able to file a DOR and choose my hearing date right then and there, from the comfort of my office! Most recently, in preparation for an MSC, I scanned and filed ALL my trial exhibits and, upon my arrival at the district office for the hearing, all the documents were in EAMS and could be viewed by the WCJ. I can't tell you how EXCITED I was to see all our hard work come to fruition. It REALLY WORKS! Come join the REVOLUTION and become an e-form filer.”

Part of the division’s commitment to phasing external users into the system over time includes ensuring users can be supported when they encounter problems with their electronic filing. This is one of several reasons for the e-Forms trial. Defense firm Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP, also has two offices in the trial.

“The staff at my offices in the trial tell me how wonderful filing e-forms is,” says Staff Manager Renee Sherman. “Whenever we’ve had problems with the e-forms they have been resolved right away. The EAMS Help Desk has been wonderful. In some cases where we’ve had a problem, we’ve had a response back from the help desk within an hour. We’re looking forward to getting another of our offices into the next round.”

Until logons and passwords become generally available—currently anticipated in early 2009—participating in the e-Forms trial is the only way to get one. Want to find out more? Visit the “working in EAMS” page of the DWC Web site. Interested in participating in the e-Forms trial? Send an email to eams@dir.ca.gov and put “e-forms trial participant” in the subject line.

e-Forms at a glance

  • Web-based
  • Filled out / submitted electronically on line
  • Structured tabbed format
  • Filled out one at a time
  • Require a logon and password to access
  • 337 documents e-filed by external users between 9/22 and 10/6 (the first round of the trial)
  • 490 between 10/7 and 10/15 (the second round of the trial)
  • 827 total documents e-filed by external users as of 10/15
  • 92 percent success rate on forms submission
  • DWC has also processed over 1,100 documents internally via e-Forms, for a total of 1,957 documents processed via e-Form.

Last Train the Trainer: Due to popular demand, DWC and its superb team of external users have scheduled a “train the trainer” session for external users on Thursday, Oct. 23 in Los Angeles. This is the last training session (which is specifically for organizational trainers and focuses on filing forms and documents in EAMS) before the regulations become effective in mid-November. Future trainings will probably be conducted over the Web, so if you weren’t able to get into previous sessions or just want to be prepared before the regulations, now is the time to sign up. Space is limited to two representatives per location, and reservations are on a first come, first served basis. Here are the details:

The session will be held:

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (break for lunch from noon-1 p.m.)
Ronald Reagan State Office Building – auditorium
300 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA

Those organizations wishing to send representatives to this training session should send an e-mail to eams@dir.ca.gov and put “RSVP EAMS LA train the trainer session” in the subject line. The body of the email should contain the name, organization, location and email address of each person requesting a seat at the session. Once the space is filled, reservations will be closed for these sessions, so don’t delay.

The Oct. 23 training session was first announced Thursday, Oct. 16 in a DWC Newsline. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the DWC Newsline, this is a must for staying up to date.

New Blog post: DWC’s Robert K. Norton, the presiding judge in our Bakersfield office, has written a new entry for his EAMS blog about “California: Rules, Customs and EAMS.” You can find it here: http://law.lexisnexis.com/practiceareas/Workers-Compensation-Law-Blog/CA-Division-of-Workers-Comp-News/California-Rules-Customs-and-EAMS

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. Updated questions have the updated image logo next to them. The rest are new questions.

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

Here are the FAQ updates made between Sept. 30 and Oct. 15.

Topics covered in this FAQ update include:

Claims administrator-specific questions
EAMS training and resources
Filing OCR forms
        The OCR cover sheet
        The OCR document separator sheet
Filing e-forms

About claims administrator-specific questions:

Q: We have received notices of hearings with the new ADJ case numbers and no reference to the old WCAB case number.  How can we cross-reference the numbers?

A: Go to the EAMS Web site at www.dwc.ca.gov and click on the new EAMS and legacy case number lookup tool. If you know either number, you can use this page to look up the corresponding case number.

Q: I am trying to determine the status of a case. After I fill out all the information on the general public search, I click on the search button and all the information disappears.  How can I get the information I need?

A: The general public search will only show status on cases that have upcoming hearings. If the case is not active, you will not get a return and the entry will disappear. There is no way to save the entry information. 
Please note that the general public search tool works on an “exact match” basis. That is, if searching for a case using the case number, the number must match exactly. For example, if the case number is ADJ0123456 you must enter it exactly that way. If you enter ADJ 0123456 you will not get a match. If you enter 0123456 you will not get a match. Also, the three-letter prefix for the EAMS case number (ADJ) must always be capitalized.

Q: We are a self-insured, self-administered employer, so there is no insurance carrier or third-party administrator. Would we leave the carrier/administrator field blank and just fill in the employer?

A: No. Since you are self administered, you are a claims administrator and have a uniform assigned name (or should). A good example of this is Kaiser Permanente—their uniform assigned name (UAN) is KAISER OAKLAND.

When filling out the form you would check the self-insured box, fill in your UAN in the claims administrator field on the form, and in the author field on the separator sheet if you are the entity filling out the form that follows the separator sheet.

To find your uniform assigned name, check the UAN database. If you are a self-insured, self-administered employer and are not listed there, follow the instructions under “changing or adding a name to the database” on the UAN main page.

About EAMS training and resources:

Q: I have completed the computer based training for external users.  What do I need to do now in order to take the CBT certification test?

A: The certification for those who complete the CBT will be posted soon. When it is, you will find it posted on the same Web page as the CBT.

About filing OCR forms:

updated image Q: How do I prepare and file documents that require signatures, such as a C&R?

A: Click on the OCR C&R form from the DWC forms page , fill it out, print it using the Adobe print icon, circulate it for signatures, then mail it or hand deliver it to the district office. The order of the documents should be: Cover sheet, separator sheet, C&R and addendums, separator sheet, first supporting document, such as one AME report, separator sheet, another medical report, separator sheet, other supporting document, etc., separator sheet, proof of service.

Click here to see an example of how to set this file up for submission.

The batch of documents will be scanned in and routed to the appropriate judge for approval.

Remember, for settlements involving unrepresented workers, where the settlement documents are being submitted by the claims adjuster, you must include a copy of the panel QME letter sent to the applicant.

updated image Q: Will I still be able to get a settlement approved as a walk through?

A: If you wish to walk through a settlement and there is an existing legacy file or EAMS file, bring the settlement and supporting documents to the district office with venue. If a judge previously rejected the settlement or took testimony in the case, you must go to that judge for approval. Otherwise, you may take the settlement documents to an assigned walk through judge for review and approval.

If the settlement is an opening document, it must be mailed or hand carried to the district office for scanning by 12 noon the day prior to the walk through. Parties may return the following day between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. or between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and proceed to the assigned walk through judge for review and approval of the settlement. Please see the OCR form filing handbook for further details.

Important printing note: The preferred method for most of the forms which will yield the best results from our testing of various printers from Adobe is: "Fit to Printable Area" with "Center and Autorotate" turned on and zoom factor at 96 percent. Other print options may not result in as good results.

Q: If I am filing multiple forms for several different cases at one district office, may I place them all in one large envelope for mailing? Since staples are not permitted, can clips be used to keep the documents together in the correct order?

A: You may place all of the documents in the same envelope, but be sure the envelope is large enough to keep documents from becoming wrinkled or folded. Paper clips and binder clips may be used to keep the documents together as long as the clips do not cause folds, wrinkles, dents, or tears to the documents.

About the OCR cover sheet:

Q: Is the date field on the upper left side of the document cover sheet used for the date the cover sheet is being prepared, or the date of a specific injury?

A: It is the date the cover sheet is being prepared. For a specific injury, the single date would go in the same field as the start date for a cumulative injury.

Q: Where can I find the list of three-digit codes for the body part drop down menus on the OCR cover sheet?

A: You can find the three-digit body part codes on the last page of the cover sheet. These are the only body part codes EAMS will recognize. 

Q: There is a listing of district office codes with the document cover sheet, but I can’t find a place for them on the form.  Where would the code be inserted?

A: The district office code is not used on the cover sheet. It is provided as a reference for use on other forms where it is required, for example on the “Application for Adjudication.”

Please note that when filing the “Application for Adjudication” the venue is determined by one of three options:

  • County of residence of employee (Labor Code section 5501.5(a)(1) or (d).)
  • County where injury occurred (Labor Code section 5501.5(a)(2) or (d).)
  • County of principal place of business of employee’s attorney (Labor Code section 5501.5(a)(3).)

The district office code you type into the form must be related to one of the three options for venue selection.

About the OCR document separator sheet:

Q: On the document separator sheet, does the author’s name need to match our uniform assigned name in the database (i.e. our firm name), or should it contain the name of an individual from our firm? What would we use as the document date?

A: The author field on the document separator sheet must match the uniform assigned of your firm, if your firm is the entity filling out the form that follows the separator sheet. For example, if you are an attorney filing a “Declaration of Readiness to Proceed” you would put the uniform assigned name of your firm in the author field on the separator sheet preceding your OCR DOR form. If you submit a medical report with that DOR, the author of that document is the medical provider who authored the report. You would fill in the doctor’s name in the author field like this: JOHN SMITH MD. Note, there are no special characters, no periods, commas, etc. Simply type in the first name, last name and the practitioner’s designation (MD, DO, PT, etc.) in all caps.

The document date is the date at the beginning of the document that shows when that document was written or produced. In the above example, on the separator sheet preceding the DOR, the date is the date you filled it out. The date on the separator sheet preceding the medical report is the date the report was authored.

Q: On the document separator sheet, is there a way to find the document title I am looking for without checking through all of the document types in the drop down menus?

A: When you open the document separator sheet, you will see two PDF links on the upper left side of the screen. Clicking on the bottom link will open a list of all of the document titles, showing the product delivery unit (ADJ, RSU, VOC, DEU), document type and document titles available for each unit.

You can only use the document titles that go with the document type and the product delivery unit into which you are filing the document. For example, if filing a document into product delivery unit DEU, under document type MEDICAL REPORTS, the document titles available are:

  • AME
  • DEFAULT QME (represented with DOI on/after 1-1-05)
  • PANEL QME (non-represented all DOI)
  • REPRESENTED QME (represented with DOI before 1-1-05)

Do not write in a document title that is not shown on the list for that document type and product delivery unit, as EAMS will not accept it.

Q: In cases where we have multiple sets of subpoenaed records and we are submitting multiple documents from each set as trial exhibits, would we fill out one document separator sheet per set of subpoenaed records or one per individual document?

A: Designated documents from each set of subpoenaed records would be considered one document. They would not require individual separator sheets. One separator sheet would be required for each set of subpoenaed records.

Q: When submitting a request for a DEU rating, is a separator sheet needed for each individual document in the package?

A: A document cover sheet should be placed on top identifying the DEU as the product delivery unit. This should be followed by a separator sheet and the DEU request form, then a separator sheet and the medical report to be rated. If more than one medical report is to be rated, a separator sheet should precede each report. DEU forms contain their own proof of service so you don’t need to add a separator sheet for that. You can find a sample of how to set up a DEU submission on the “Working in EAMS” page under “for OCR form filers.”

Q: A DEU rating is sometimes included in a settlement package. The settlement package is filed on the ADJ product delivery unit, but the rating is a DEU document and is not included in the ADJ drop down menus on the document separator sheet.  Would the rating be considered a part of the settlement and not require its own document separator sheet?

A: Yes. The settlement package is filed on the ADJ unit under one coversheet. The DEU rating you want to be appended to the settlement document goes at the end of the settlement document itself, with no separator sheet. There is an example of how to set up a C&R on the “Working in EAMS” page under “for OCR form filers.” In that example, the rating would be placed just behind the settlement document, and before the separator sheet for the DWC-1.

Remember, separator sheets would still be needed for the other individual documents submitted as part of the settlement package, such as the medical reports.

When submitting multiple documents under one cover sheet, all the product delivery units must match the unit designated on the cover sheet. In other words, if you indicate on your cover sheet that you are filing into ADJ, the product delivery unit for all the separator sheets in that file must be ADJ. If you try to use a different product delivery unit on one of the separator sheets your submission will error out of EAMS.

Q: On the document separator sheet drop down menus, there is no option listed for proof of service under the document title for DEU product delivery unit.  Where can it be found?

A: For the DEU product delivery unit, the proof of service is included in the actual form itself, so you don’t need a separate proof of service, and therefore, no separator sheet is needed.

About filing e-forms:

Q: When a case has multiple employers and insurers but the e-form only has space for one of each, how would the others be added?

A: An attachment (such as a Word document) would be created listing the additional parties, and would be added to the e-form as an attachment by clicking on the “add attachments” button. DWC staff will then enter the additional case participants manually in EAMS, just as they currently do with paper forms that do not have enough fields.

Q: The unstructured e-form has a field for the master case number as well as a field for the case reference. Which field does the ADJ number go in?

A: The ADJ number goes in the master case number field. The case reference field is used to list any companion cases in which you would like to file the same document.

How you can help

When you have a question about filling out the OCR forms, email EAMSHelpDesk@dir.ca.gov. Our experts will assist you.

When you have an issue dealing with 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