EDEX 2, the new and improved version of the Division of Workers' Compensation's pioneering data exchange system, is now operational. The new release allows users to take advantage of some significant time saving improvements, including same day service when requested, and ultimately reduced costs as well.
In the past, all transactions posted to the system -- which allows parties with a desktop PC and DWC approved software to request information about specific workers' compensation cases as well as file liens electronically -- were processed overnight, when transmission rates are cheaper.
"Under the upgraded system, those who need information faster and are willing to pay the higher daytime network rates will be able to get it in as soon as an hour," said DWC Administrative Director Richard P. Gannon in announcing the new release.
"We continue to encourage parties who need to inquire about the status of specific cases or upcoming events in the case or to post liens to a case to consider the advantages of using EDEX for those purposes," he said. "Providing these services electronically, instead of manually, results in major cost and time savings for both DWC staff and clients."
Other improvements under EDEX 2, according to Gannon, allow subscribers to be notified when a new party is added to a case and when a lien amount is changed. In addition, the system will allow users to file pre-application lien information at the same time they send an inquiry transaction. All of these will improve service and help further reduce costs for the end user, he said.
In addition, EDEX 2 is fully Y2K compliant.
With the advent of these new features, the number of EDEX subscribers transactions is expected to increase substantially. There are currently over 500 EDEX subscribers with some 4,600 authorized clients. Over 1,760,000 EDEX transactions were enacted since the system began in late 1995.
The services now provided by the system are:
*Inquiry by case number: This provides case information about a specific case. For example, if a client needs to know whether a hearing has been set or whether a settlement has been approved, this type of inquiry will provide that information.
*Inquiry by social security number: This allows clients to determine if a case file or files exist for a specific individual. If, for example, an attorney wants to know whether an individual has had previous adjudicated workers' compensation claims, this inquiry will provide that information.
*Pre-application inquiry: This allows a client to post a record of interest on the DWC database. If, for example, a medical provider expects a case may be filed in the future, a pre-application inquiry will ensure that the provider is notified if in fact the case is filed.
* Resident inquiry: This is an inquiry by case number that remains "resident" on the DWC computer system and electronically notifies the requestor whenever a significant event occurs in the case. For example, a resident inquiry will automatically notify the subscriber of any hearing notices issued, any filings of a Declaration of Readiness, the addition of a new lien claimant, the approval of a settlement, or over 50 other possible events.
*Basic lien filing: This allows a lien claimant to electronically join or update their lien on an existing WCAB case. Among other things, EDEX will provide the current official address record for the case so that service on all parties can be perfected. Electronic filing eliminates the need to file a paper form.
*Extended lien filing: This automatically notifies a lien claimant or other party electronically whenever a significant event occurs on the case. For example, the lien claimant will be notified when DWC receives a Compromise & Release or Stipulation with Request for Award, issues an order approving a C&R or Stipulation, and when a hearing is set, re-scheduled or canceled.
Subscribers access the system by posting a notice in an electronic mailbox established by DWC through the state's Teale Data Center. Responses are prepared overnight and returned to the mailbox for subscribers to pick up and process the next morning. DWC charges 20 cents per transaction for this service. Subscribers must also pay transmission costs.
Those who file inquiries, liens or extended liens can receive inquiry results or acknowledgment of lien receipt within about an hour of processing. However, the earliest notification of an upcoming event will not take place until the following morning. Currently, EDEX transactions are processed five times per business day: 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
The DWC charge of 20 cents per transaction remains the same, regardless of the time of day it was initiated. But subscribers must pay the higher transmission costs for transactions processed during prime-time business hours.
Those interested in subscribing to the system must obtain or develop compatible software and file an application with DWC for an EDEX account number. Several vendors currently offer DWC-approved application software. Any client of the subscriber who wishes to utilize the system must be listed on the subscriber's application and also be issued an identification number.
Safeguards have been built into the system so that only parties authorized to receive data can obtain it, and clients must certify that the information will not be used for any unlawful purpose, such as those that would violate the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California or federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, or any confidentiality laws.
Application packages and further information, including a list of authorized vendors, may be obtained by calling the DWC EDEX Administrator at (415) 703-4600 or writing: Division of Workers' Compensation, EDEX SUBSCRIPTION, PO Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142. This information is also available at DWC's website at http://www.dir.ca.gov/DWC/edex.html. The information package in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format can be downloaded from that page.