upgrade imagePennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway recently announced the integration of three components of the workers’ compensation system. The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication, and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board were integrated into the new Workers’ Compensation Automation and Integration System.

The goal is to increase efficiency for employers, workers, and insurers. Anyone involved in the workers’ compensation process will be able to find everything relating to a claim in one place. For example, a worker’s initial claim, any disputes filed, and information related to an appeal will all be accessible in the same place.

Officials say the system will provide transparency as well as 24/7 availability, faster claims processing, improved management of data relating to claims, and a quicker resolution of disputes.

“The new WCAIS system, the first of its kind in the nation, will help Labor & Industry serve the citizens of Pennsylvania more expediently,” Hearthway said. “WCAIS will simplify and automate the workers’ compensation system, enhancing customer service and streamlining claims handling and resolution.”

The department also will introduce an Electronic Data Interchange for documenting and reporting claims transactions with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. With the new system, claims-related forms can be completed and filed online, which is expected to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

“With a more agile and customer-friendly system, carriers, third-party administrators and self-insured employers should experience cost savings as a result of the streamlined process,” Hearthway said.

Impact on Workers’ Compensation Claimants

If you currently have an open Pennsylvania workers’ compensation  claim, the new system is not likely to directly affect you, although it may speed up processing of your claim. Locating information relating to your claim also may become easier.

If you are a claimant, be sure to consult with your Worker’s Compensation to determine whether you need to take any action as a result of the new system.

While processing claims may become more efficient, the new system will not make it easier to have a workers’ comp claim approved. Nor will it make it any easier for an injured worker who is dealing with a difficult employer. If you have questions or concerns about your legal rights to compensation, contact Shor & Levin, The Bulldog Lawyers, at 855-860-4385 or use our online contact form.