(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Electronic Filing in Workers Compensation: One National System

By Jon Gelman from Jon L Gelman LLC
Pennsylvania is down, New Jersey is up, and Florida is just ahead of the curve, on workers’ compensation docketing and statistical reporting programs. Reliability, accuracy and utility and necessary components to a model system.
Costs from development to deployment, to upgrade and usage become compounded by  glitches and downtime. Redeveloping the wheel for every software browser upgrade and development merely adds to the cost and loss of time.
Nationally the best system has been the Federal Court Electronic Filing System (EFS) along with the public access system PACER. Handling a universal docket of civil, criminal and bankruptcy actions the system is stellar, and gets better with every new software upgrade 
Even though there are many unique local District Courts, and Circuit Court of Appeals Rules, that require adherence, the system integrates functionality that makes it easy and consistent in filing and handling claims. 
A universally consistent protocol for handling court related data would allow integration throughout all jurisdictions national. While workers’ compensation has its own particular issues in each jurisdiction, the basic theory and practice is essentially the same.  
While some integration of data is universally being proposed under The Smart Act regulations, and other Medicare Secondary Payer Act requirements, the processes are national and universal data integration with an uniform patchwork of claims processes, is tedious and difficult to adoption by local jurisdictions at the present time.
Integration of information is not unusual. The major credit reports companies already have collected national individual data. Likewise, The Index Bureau collects data nationally on injuries and claims for the insurance companies. In fact, Federal agencies like the Social Security Administration already access this data.
The writing is obviously on the wall, and has been since CMS initially promulgated the Patel memorandum July 16, 2001, concerning both collection procedures and future medical allowances.
The tedium of prosecuting a Workers’ Compensation claim, and it’s ultimate adjudication, is an onerous task that seems to be getting much worse because of collection of data requirements and a transient population and multi-jurisdictional employers. Dual jurisdiction claims, collateral liens, pre-existing medical conditions, and the collection of medical data are also problematic. Cottages industries are now emasculating the workers’ compensation premium dollar by offering individual State solutions.
It is is time for the establishment of a national workers’ compensation docket system and case filing program that would integrate all jurisdictions and help the system stay an efficient, summary and remedial system that its crafter envisioned a century ago.