Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) Insider

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Issue 21 April 30, 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 Present Term Solution update

The talking is over. Let the development begin.

After several months of requirements discussions between DWC and its external partners, business requirements for the “present term solution” are complete and technical development has begun.

The present term solution, an approach to providing external users with limited bulk electronic filing and greater access to case information during the time in which the EAMS External User Access Project is scoped and funded, is designed to get as much paper out of the current filing system as quickly as possible. This will be accomplished by allowing bulk electronic filing of the six most commonly filed forms through Secure File Transport Protocol (SFTP). The present term solution will also allow access to some public case file information on the DWC Web site.

The requirements that were finalized this month establish the business rules on how the filing process will work, covering everything from hours of operation to data security. The DWC will market this bulk filing solution to groups or individuals currently filing the greatest volume of the six selected forms on paper. These trading partners will build their own transmission pipeline (or use a vendor’s) to file documents into EAMS using SFTP.

With the business rules established, the next several months will be spent on the technical design and development portion of the present term solution. Following that will be testing, with a finish date set for the end of this year.

One significant change brought by the requirements sessions was the decision to eliminate a previously required document known as the “s signature verification.” This document is used to verify that the “s signature” (a precursor to digital signatures) placed on single signature forms filed electronically is that of the filer. For some large volume filers, such as State Compensation Insurance Fund, the need to scan and file this s signature verification would have made bulk filing impractical. After discussions and agreement with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, DWC eliminated the s signature verification requirement from the rules.

The elimination of the requirement to file this form will also be extended to e-form filers in the near future.

“We want to thank you for making this change,” said Denise Spelzini of State Fund at the April 20 requirements session.

Susan Gard of DWC replied, and also referring to the external group at large, “We really appreciate your input and ability to expand the vision.”

“We’re very, very excited to be moving into the development portion of our project. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and suggestions, your thorough review of draft documents and your dedication to implementing the present term solution! Without your insight we would not be where we are now.”

The next meeting of the external user advisory group will be in June. At that time the group will discuss present term solution account creation and management, along with trading partner agreements.

EAMS blog

Why is venue so vexing? That is the title of DWC Judge Colleen Casey’s latest blog entry for the Lexis Nexis Web site.

E-form trial update

San Diego workers’ compensation Judge Chuck Ellison has been the trial administrator for the e-forms trial almost since its inception in September 2008. He would like more people to participate in it, and he has answers for the most frequently asked question for those contemplating joining.

Q: What are the benefits of e-filing?
A: No backlogged documents! Your Applications, Trial Exhibits, Petitions, Liens etc. are all in the case immediately upon successful submission, generally within two hours of filing. You can e-file from 6 a.m.- 8 p.m. Mon-Sat, except Thursday, only until 6 p.m. even on DWC furlough Fridays and holidays.

Q: What kind of software and equipment do I need? I’m using a four-year-old computer—will I need to upgrade?
A: You must have a PC running Internet Explorer 6 or above and a high speed Internet connection. You will need an auto-feed scanner, as a flatbed type will be too time consuming. My computer is eight years old and works just fine.

Q: If I become an e-filer, will I be able to view my previous cases that I filed on paper in EAMS?
A: Yes, you will be associated with all your cases that are in EAMS.

Q: I understand that if I’m filing a case-opening document, I’ll be able to select my court date. How does that work?
A: Filing a case opening document does only that, opens the case. You have to file your Declaration of Readiness to Proceed in which you will select a conference hearing date.

Q: Once I’ve filed documents via e-form, what happens when the case goes to trial? Will I have to bring hard copies to the court, or a laptop?
A:  For DWC purposes, your documents are in the case. If you need to refer to them you can either bring hard copies or if you want, have them in a folder on your laptop. You cannot access EAMS with your laptop unless you have an air card as DWC does not provide wireless connection in the courtroom at this time.

Q: I’m an unrepresented injured worker, and I’d like to be able to file my documents from home. Can I join the e-forms trial?
A:  Yes—go to our Web site and under the link for e-form filers, fill out and send in the application/agreement.

Q: I’m an attorney with a large law firm. Can I apply to the e-forms trial even if my colleagues at the firm are still filing OCR forms? And if so, can they use my logon and password?
A: Because system logons are given out by location, we currently require everyone at that location to e-file. But don’t be discouraged, big law firms can do this and we can put you in contact with other folks who do.

Q: I like the idea of e-forms but don’t like the idea that I can’t file a last-minute OCR form in case of emergencies. Can I try the e-forms trial for a couple of months to see if I like it?
A: You always have the option to discontinue your participation on notice to CRU, but while you are in the trial, barring emergencies, you have to e-file all your documents.

Q: Do I need to save e-forms on my computer before I file them with DWC?
A:  No—they are Web based, so you log onto the EAMS Web site and fill them out in the system.

Q. How will I be able to see the forms once they’re in EAMS?
A: You will have external access to non-DWC case information in EAMS, which includes being able to view documents.

Q: I’ve been thinking of getting a laptop computer and taking it to court. Will I be able to use it to file e-forms or other EAMS work while I’m visiting DWC district offices?
A: Yes—if you have an air card you can log onto the system wherever you are with your laptop! Remember, DWC does not provide wireless connection at this time.

Q: I’m a lien claimant. How is the e-form process faster than filing paper OCR forms? Aren’t they processed by date they were filed?
A: E-filing is great for lien claimants. OCR liens are the most backlogged document at the district offices. Once your lien is successfully processed into EAMS, it is in the case and you are added as a case participant. Barring errors, a lien filed at 9:00 a.m. should be in the case by 10:15 a.m. the same day.

Q: The itemized bills for my liens can be two inches thick. Will I have to scan all of them and attach them to my forms?
A: We prefer an itemized statement be attached to the lien. Your individual bills would be filed only if necessary for trial. If you don’t have an itemized statement you will have to scan all your bills in as a single multi-page document and attach it to your lien.

Q. Will I have to bring the original documents to trial?
A: Not for purposes of filing. Once you’ve filed your documents electronically they are filed and in the case. If you want to refer to documents during the hearing, bring a hard copy or bring your laptop with your digital copies. Remember, you can also access the documents electronically in EAMS at the district office if you bring your own laptop with an air card that provides you with Internet access.

Q: What happens if my lien is settled before trial?  I already e-filed it. How do I withdraw it?
A: You file a Notice of Withdrawal of Lien.

Q: How do I join the e-form trial?
A: Go to our Web site at www.dwc.ca.gov/eams and under the link for e-form filers, fill out and send in the application/agreement to CRU@DIR.CA.GOV

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