Workers' compensation insurance carriers and self-insured employers in California will be relieved of a substantial amount of required paperwork with the state's new Workers' Compensation Information System (WCIS).
Last Wednesday, the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced the WCIS as fully operational.
The new information system, developed and administered by DIR's Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC), electronically gathers data on all workers' compensation claims filed in California from the first report of injury to conclusion of the case.
For the first time, it can provide and overview of operations of the state's workers' compensation system, allowing policymakers to track its performance and determine the need for further improvements.
It is estimated that eventually millions of paper forms that are currently filed with the department -- which then processes and stores them -- will be eliminated.
The first paper reports to be replaced by electronic filing will be the Employer's Report of Occupational Injury or Illness (Form 5020), a one-page form that is sent to DIR's Division of Labor Statistics and Research.
This is the form employers fill out and file with their workers' compensation insurance carrier to comply with the state Labor Code requirement that they report every job-related injury or illness that results in lost work time or which requires medical treatment beyond first aid.
As of Mar.1, insurance carriers, self-insured employers and their claims administrators are beginning to submit this data electronically into the new WCIS.
Ultimately DIR expects that many employers will take advantage of paperless reporting by submitting the required data to their insurance carrier electronically, and the carrier will then merely resubmit the electronic file to the WCIS.
More than 75 organizations have already begun the process of connecting to the new system.
Seven claims administrators have completed all testing and have "fully demonstrated their ability to transmit complete, valid, accurate data" to the system.
Implementation of the WCIS was mandated by legislation that was part of the 1993 reforms of the state's workers' compensation system.
Further information about WCIS can be found by visiting the DIR Web site at www.dir.ca. gov/DWC/WCIS.htm