Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) Insider
Issue 29 January 31, 2011
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.)
This is going to be an eventful year for EAMS, as some long-laid plans are finally coming to fruition. Since EAMS made its debut in 2008, DWC’s goal has been to connect all of its external users with the workers’ compensation court system. Much of the past two years have been spent on working to make that a reality, and 2011 will see a veritable leap forward.
The most important development this year, as you know if you have been reading EAMS Insider the past year, will be the addition of bulk electronic filing, which is part of the present term solution (PTS).
If all of this is new to you, here’s a recap of where it all started started, and where we’ll be in a few months:
In January 2010, work began on a plan—developed in conjunction with external users—to provide bulk electronic filing through secure file transport protocol (SFTP) and access to public information about the case file on the DWC Web site. The goals were to reduce the amount of paper being filed at the DWC district offices by expanding electronic filing, which would in turn enable cases to go through the system faster.
The public information case search tool was unveiled late last year, and the response from users has been very positive.
Work is continuing on the bulk electronic filing component of the PTS, with testing scheduled for completion in March. Go live is scheduled for April.
At that point, many of the barriers that kept people from filing electronically will be gone. If you’re tired of filing paper OCR forms and want to “Join the E Team,” here’s how to get started.
First of all, you need to know what kind of electronic filer you are.
Bulk filing is designed for large volume filers. The e-forms trial is suited for small to medium filers.
In the e-forms trial, you log onto EAMS and file forms one at a time over the Internet. If you are a party to a case, you will be able to see all your case information and the documents inside EAMS. E-forms require more manual processing than PTS, but allow access to all forms. When you submit your “Declaration of Readiness to Proceed” (DOR), you can choose your court date. A dedicated Help Desk is available for consultation during regular business hours. There is no cost beyond a computer and Internet connection.
If you file 100 or more documents annually with DWC, bulk filing is best. With bulk filing, you will be able to file multiple forms (limited to six forms at launch) and attachments in a single transmission via SFTP without logging onto EAMS. In this process, your electronic packet is encrypted for security, and sent to servers, where it is received by DWC. You will receive immediate electronic response on the status of the submission. Errors will be reported electronically so they can be corrected and the document resubmitted, all without manual intervention. For further ease of use, DWC will hold the DORs that cannot be set immediately in a pending queue until a hearing date is available—no more reprocessing until a date opens up. Bulk filing does not give you access to your case documents inside EAMS, but you can use the public information case search tool to find out the status of the case, see who’s on the official address record, and learn other information essential to keeping your cases moving. The cost of bulk filing will vary depending on whether you build your own transmission pipeline, purchase ready-to-go software from approved vendors or use the services of a third party.
One more thing: Participants in the e-forms trial will also be able to bulk file, so there are options for different situations.
No matter which electronic filing method you choose, now is the right time to join the E Team.
Web site changes
The new public information case search function is just one of the tools available to help you navigate through the workers’ comp system.
New questions on privacy have been added to the frequently asked questions:
About injured worker-specific questions:
Q: What happens to an injured worker’s personal information—address, Social Security number, medical records—that is requested on various DWC forms? Is it kept confidential?
A: The division uses this information solely to administer its duties in workers’ compensation claims. For example, if an injured worker provides their Social Security number (in whole or in part), DWC will use it as an identifier to ensure that documents are matched to the correct workers’ comp case. Unless authorized by law to do so, DWC cannot disclose the residence addresses of injured workers or their SSN. (See, conditions for disclosure at California Civil Code Section 1798.24.) Note that some case file information can be found by using the public information search tool on DWC’s Web site.
Q: What personal information can be found in a public information search?
A: The search tool shows limited case data, such as an injured worker’s name, case number, case status, court location, employer name, a description of events in the case, and associated dates. It may list the parts of the body that were injured, but it does not include medical records or any case documents. The information provided in this search tool relates solely to cases in DWC’s adjudication unit and is intended to help move cases through the court system efficiently. Any person requesting access to this information is required to identify themselves, state the reason for making the request, and instructed not to disclose the information to any person who is not entitled to it under Labor Code section 138.7>.
Injured workers should be aware that, once an “Application for Adjudication of Claim” is filed, case file information, including case documents, may be disclosed under the California Public Records Act. Even in this circumstance, an injured worker’s address, date of birth and Social Security number are not revealed to the requestor by the DWC.
E-forms trial update
If you interested in joining the e-forms trial, send in a signed agreement and take the computer based training.
Do you know the EAMS service rules? Judge Colleen Casey offers tips in her latest blog for Lexis Nexis.
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 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