EEOICPA BULLETIN NO.13-04 

 

Issue Date: 

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Effective Date:  June 17, 2013

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Expiration Date:  September 30, 2013

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Subject:  OWCP Imaging System  

 

Background:  In June 2013, the Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) will begin piloting a new imaging system, the OWCP Imaging System (OIS), with the pilot starting in the Cleveland district office and the Cleveland Final Adjudication Branch (FAB).  OIS is a software program which enables DEEOIC staff to view electronic images of paper case file materials.  The Cleveland district office will pilot OIS starting June 17, 2013 through September 30, 2013 to evaluate the technical capacity and process needs for imaging DEEOIC records. 

 

OIS is a distinct “stand-alone” program, and DEEOIC will not be integrating it with the Electronic Compensation System (ECS) for the pilot.   ECS is the primary case management system for all work products, due dates, actions, and point of entry for all new claims processed under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).  DEEOIC will modify ECS to allow for the identification of case files that are paper or imaged (either fully imaged or a hybrid of both paper and imaged documents).  While imaged documents will only be created in the Cleveland district office and Cleveland FAB, during the pilot, staff working in other DEEOIC offices will be able to view all case file documents in OIS.  

 

For the period of the pilot, contractor personnel will be receiving incoming mail, preparing the mail for scanning, scanning the documents, providing quality control and doing the initial indexing prior to the documents being submitted and captured in OIS.  The pilot will not involve imaging existing paper case files.  During the pilot, all new claims for the Cleveland district office will be processed as a fully imaged record.  Cases either fully imaged or partially imaged during the pilot will not be transferred to a DEEOIC jurisdiction outside of the Cleveland district office or the Cleveland FAB.  For existing cases, OIS contractor personnel will image incoming paper documents to create an electronic document which will be associated with the paper case file.

 

While the information provided in this Bulletin provides guidance on the implementation of a pilot process for capturing and storing electronic images of paper documents, it does not alter the manner in which the CE adjudicates claims based on the legal or regulatory requirements of the EEOICPA.  DEEOIC expects a CE to conduct a thorough examination of the case evidence, including any imaged record, to reach a sufficient, accurate and justifiable claim outcome.   Moreover, as this is a pilot of an imaging system, the DEEOIC will be conducting routine audits to ascertain confidence in the imaging system’s functionality and accuracy. Federal personnel designated by the Cleveland District Director are responsible for conducting these audits.  

 

DEEOIC’s ultimate goal is to implement a program-wide imaging program to facilitate administrative efficiencies and lessen administrative costs.  This pilot is the first step in achieving that goal.  Once the pilot is complete, DEEOIC will proceed with an expansion of imaging nationwide.  DEEOIC considers the implementation of OIS as having several distinct advantages:

 

·        Allows for employee remote access to electronic case records

·        Enhances customer service support

·        Reduces the need to physically handle paper case files

·        Facilitates better organization and access of claim records

·        Reduces Personally Identifiable Information (PII) violations due to lost or damaged packaging

·        Reduces the logistical costs of storage and maintenance of paper files

·        Decreases costs associated with shipping case file

·        Facilitates continuity of operations during emergencies or other disruptive events

·        Assists in making CE positions telework eligible

 

References:  OWCP Imaging System (OIS) Functional Requirements version 1.17, OIS Document Capture Process, OWCP Bulletin No. 01-01

 

Purpose:  To provide guidance on the handling of imaged documents during a pilot in the Cleveland district office and the Cleveland FAB. 

 

Applicability:  Regional directors, district directors, assistant district directors, chiefs of operations, system managers, technical assistants, Cleveland district office staff, Cleveland FAB staff and national office staff. 

 

Actions:

 

1.             Upon receipt of new mail in the Cleveland district office, the mail will be taken to the appropriate scanning area where contractor personnel will prepare the mail for scanning and scan the document.  The contractor is responsible for imaging all incoming mail for the Cleveland district office and Cleveland FAB.  No paper documents that have been imaged will be destroyed.

 

2.             Once the document is imaged, the contractor personnel will verify the quality of the electronic image by checking it against the original document and do the initial indexing prior to the documents being submitted and captured in OIS. The contractor will conduct the Category indexing based on a Category and Subject index list created by DEEOIC.

 

3.             When a case number is not available at the “initial index” step, the document will be placed in one of two queues for review prior to indexing:

 

a. Case Create Queue – the document is a new EE-1 or EE-2 form and needs to go through the case create process. 

 

b. Unnumbered Mail Queue – the document is not a EE-1 or EE-2 form and the case number cannot be readily identified.

 

4.             For new cases, once the documents are imaged and in OIS, as per current case create guidance, contractor personnel will create the case in ECS. The contractor personnel will then identify the case ID number from ECS and place it in OIS.  If a claim form or other mail which belongs to another district office is imaged by mistake, the claims examiner will mark the document for deletion, and obtain approval of district office management. Contractor personnel will then locate the original document and mail it to the appropriate office. 

 

5.             Newly scanned documents requiring review will be placed in the claims examiner’s Unreviewed Documents list for review. 

 

6.             For imaged documents in the unnumbered mail queue, designated claims personnel at the Cleveland district office will use ECS to locate and identify the case number ID. Once the case ID is located, if Cleveland is the correct jurisdiction for the claim, the imaged document is to be associated in OIS with the existing case file.  When the designated claim personnel indexes the document, he or she selects the appropriate Category using the drop down menu.

 

7.             For unreviewed mail associated with a Cleveland case, the claims examiner selects a case from the unreviewed documents list and performs the following:

 

·     Verifies document legibility and page sequence

·     Reviews the document and its document list information

·     Reviews the category index and adds the subject index —verifies and updates the attributes

·     Saves the index with a Review Status of “Review Complete

 

8.             For documents other than incoming mail that are created in the Cleveland district office or Cleveland FAB that are to be associated with a case file, appropriate personnel are to create an image of the final document and upload or “bronze” the electronic document into OIS.   For any outgoing document that requires a signature, once the document has been printed and signed, designated personnel scan and upload the signed documents into OIS.  This guidance only applies to final documents, not drafts.

 

9.             ECS will have a “flag” to identify records relating to the case documents in “imaged” format.  The ECS flag will identify whether the case is paper only or imaged (either fully imaged or a hybrid of both paper and imaged documents). Regardless of the ECS flag, the CE must review all documents, paper or imaged, prior to claim adjudication actions.  The CE should not print out the imaged record for insertion into an existing paper case file.

 

10.         For the duration of the imaging pilot, all paper documents that undergo imaging are to be retained for quality control evaluation, and auditing purposes.  The contractor personnel imaging the documents are responsible for maintaining the documents by date received to allow for access by appropriate personnel. 

 

11.         Designated federal staff is to perform a daily audit of the imaging system to ensure that incoming documents are properly imaged, indexed to program guidelines, assigned properly to the associated case file, and imaged documents are of readable quality.

 

a.  During the pilot, each day the designated auditor staff is to identify 20 distinct incoming documents received in the Cleveland office.  The auditor is to identify random documents from incoming mail (to include facsimiles, multiple page documents) which are unprocessed by the contractor personnel.

 

b.  Once the auditor has randomly selected a document, he or she is to annotate the OIS Document Audit Worksheet.  (See Exhibit 1).  The auditor enters the date of document receipt, the case ID, and a brief description of the document.  The auditor is to return the mail to the incoming mail queue for OIS processing.  

 

c.  The auditor will then attempt to locate the sampled document once the contractor has completed the electronic capture, and uploading of document image into OIS.  Using the OIS Document Audit Worksheet, the auditor will note whether the electronic version of the sampled document is found in OIS, whether the imaged document is readable, and whether the document is correctly associated with the proper case file.  The auditor will then initial and date the entry.

 

d.  If the sampling reveals problems with document control or image quality, the district office is to notify the Director of DEEOIC of the corrective action that will be taken by the district office.

 

 

Disposition:  Claims Examiners, Supervisory Claims Examiners, Technical Assistants, Customer Service Representatives, Fiscal Officers, FAB District Managers, Operation Chiefs, Hearing Representatives, District Office Mail & File Sections

 

 

 

 

RACHEL P. LEITON

Director, Division of Energy Employees

Occupational Illness Compensation

 

Attachment 1