Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS) Insider

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Issue 16 August 31, 2009

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.)

What you need to know

For a quick primer on EAMS, point your browser to www.dwc.ca.gov/eams. There, you will find project details, 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 was recently updated.

EAMS updates

One year ago, on Aug. 22, 2008, after extensive planning and building, EAMS went live at DWC’s district offices around the state. There was much to absorb in those early days—new forms, new ways of filing, training sessions to sort everything out—and at times it was a bit of a blur. Today, it’s easier to work with EAMS because hands-on experience led to incremental improvements. But the EAMS you see today will not stay static. We will continue to make adjustments, and your feedback has been valuable in telling us where modifications are needed.

In the future, EAMS will look different. The main goal is to make filing faster and easier, and we will get there. But as we continue on that path, we would like to acknowledge the contributions of everyone who helped bring EAMS to this point. Thanks to all.

  • A new calendar feature on the EAMS Web site shows upcoming external advisory group meetings for each month. It’s an easy way to keep track of activities, such as the different groups working on a second-generation electronic filing method (also known as the EAMS Access Project).
  • Thanks to everyone who participated in the EAMS external user survey. The feedback will help us meet our goals to improve create additional filing tools and expand access to EAMS through the EAMS Access Project.

Profile of an e-filer: For many filers at DWC district offices, OCR paper forms seem like the EAMS equivalent of dial-up Internet service—it gets you there, but the pace can be less high-speed than Sunday drive, depending on the number of filings at that particular office. For attorney Yvonne Lang, a partner with Pearlman, Borska & Wax’s Oxnard office, there’s only one was to travel in EAMS: using e-forms on her computer. “It gets the documents into the system, allows me to file a DOR [Declaration of Readiness to Proceed] and get a hearing date immediately and get the hearing notice within 24 hours!”

When EAMS launched in August 2008, not everybody was ready for a totally paperless system. OCR forms were designed for filers who were used to the old forms and needed time to adjust, and also for those filers, such as unrepresented injured workers, who may never have the resources to file electronically. Not Lang—she joined the e-form trial, which requires her to file all of her forms electronically. The 200 plus members of the trial group help DWC trouble-shoot the electronic process, providing feedback that will be valuable for the next generation of electronic filing.

“I knew what the issues were going to be early on,” Lang says, “and I am still of the belief that e-filing is the BEST way to practice in the current system.” For one thing, she adds, it lessens the work load at the district office because there are no paper forms to process.
Lang has been in the workers’ compensation field for 19 years (13 of them as a lawyer) and has long embraced technology in her work and home. “I have been using computers since college,” she says. “My home is networked, we (my husband and I) both carry laptops and have BlackBerrys so we are very techo-friendly and we even have our own network administrator at the house … I'm not afraid of the computer at all.”

When EAMS was a newborn, she worked with DWC to help external users make the transition, traveling the state as part of a training team to instruct attorneys, claims adjusters, lien claimants and their employees. Lang’s tech savvy, along with her wisecracks, helped make sessions instructive and fun, as she traded tips and quips with the audiences.

E-filing means that she doesn’t have to go to the DWC district offices as often, but when representing clients she covers the Oxnard, Van Nuys, Marina del Rey district offices and occasionally Goleta, Grover Beach and Los Angeles.

While she remains an enthusiastic e-filer, she knows EAMS has a ways to go before it reaches its full potential. “There are forms that need to change, auto-populate or have other drop-downs to lessen the amount of data input when the information is either on the documents being scanned or in other parts of the file,” such as attorneys’ names, addresses and identifying data. With Lang’s help, EAMS’ future looks bright.

e-Forms update

The list of e-filers will soon be expanding! Some 67 new firms will be added to the existing group of roughly 200. The new additions will be contacted and given information for a mandatory training webinar to learn how to e-file correctly. Current e-filers are welcome to join the webinar as well.

This round of new e-filers is closed for now, but if you are interested in joining their ranks, please submit an e-file application pending a new round opening in the future.

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

EAMS Public Information Officer Peter Melton