Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Has Implemented an eFiling System

  • Jul 21, 2019

Legal Update by Attorneys Alison Stewart and Nick Cooling

A new electronic filing system has been implemented beginning July 22, 2019. The new system is known as Workers’ Compensation Electronic System, or WCES (pronounced “wick-ess”). The system will provide for electronic filing of all pleadings and documents with the Division and is intended to provide for more efficient scheduling of hearings, comprehensive case management, and greatly improved EDI transactions. New Administrative Rules have been passed and provide instructions for parties about how to appropriately navigate the new system. Those rules can be found at Iowa Administrative Code 876-2.5

Most of the changes will affect the practitioners, but Iowa Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carriers should be aware of the following:

  • The electronic filing system is mandatory for all cases currently on file, beginning on July 22, 2019.
  • The employer and insurance carrier who is required to file medical data must file the medical data in WCES. The employer or insurance carrier must register in WCES to file the medical data. The filer will receive a status update for the information the filer submits based on the status the filer selects and is approved for in WCES. A login account can be requested on the Iowa Workforce Development website, or by clicking here.
  • For changes to FROI and SROI reports must be filed within 45 days of being made aware of the change (e.g. social security number, date of injury, employer name, employee name, weekly rate, marital status, number of exemptions, etc.) Note, if a final agency decision changes any of the previously submitted information, the attorney for the employer and insurance carrier shall notify the reporter. The reporter shall file a change within 45 days of the final decision.
  • New forms have become available and carriers should be aware of whether changes to any of their regularly used forms have been made. Those forms can be found here.
  • One Deputy One Case: For hearings in the Des Moines venue, the hearing deputy will be assigned at the outset of the case and remain the same for the duration of the case, even if the Claimant dismisses and later refiles.
  • There are new e-filing deadlines for cases proceeding to hearing on, or after, September 1, 2019. Those rules are as follows:
    • At least 14 days prior to hearing, counsel must file the joint proposed hearing report, as well as the proposed exhibits. Historically, the parties have been able to exchange the hearing report and exhibits just days prior to the hearing.
    • The parties must file objections to any proposed exhibits within 7 days.

Please do not hesitate to contact a Peddicord Wharton attorney should you have any questions about how these new rules might impact your company.

 


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