Pennsylvania's Workers' Compensation Automation and Integration System
The Department of Labor & Industry strives to establish common ground where both workers and employers thrive in Pennsylvania's economy. This is our mission statement, and it is passionately pursued daily by each department employee. There are many pillars that support this mission, including a strong and effective workers' compensation system.
Workers' compensation enables economic growth by permitting workers to pursue employment without fear of debilitating injuries and/or financial loss that they would be at risk for without workers' compensation insurance. It also allows employers to offer jobs without fear of crippling law suits resulting from unexpected workplace injuries. In short, it protects both workers and employers, enabling both to thrive and prosper in Pennsylvania.
Continual improvement to the workers' compensation system ensures that its benefits to the economy are sustained. With this goal in mind, the department embarked on a workers' compensation technology upgrade in 2011. After an extraordinary investment of staff effort and commitment, the new system for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania went live on Sept. 9, 2013.
Known as the Workers' Compensation Automation and Integration System or "WCAIS," the application is a web-based system that integrates the program areas of the Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), Workers' Compensation Office of Adjudication (WCOA), and the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB). The WCAB and the BWC Helpline were implemented in September 2012. Users gained the ability to file appeals, petitions and documents online with WCAB, as well as search and view those filings, related correspondence and appeal summaries. Users also gained the ability to contact the Helpline either by phone or through WCAIS to obtain basic information on the status of appeals. On Sept. 9, 2013, the department implemented WCAIS for the rest of the workers’ compensation program, BWC and WCOA. Users can now file petitions, applications, forms and other documents online with BWC and WCOA. They can also search for and view these filings and documents as well as related correspondence. The workers' compensation community has online access to all workers' compensation matters.
WCAIS provides the workers' compensation community:
"24/7" availability of online service, including document filing and management
Faster claims processing and litigation times and a more efficient adjudication system
Improved data management and recordkeeping
WCAIS also introduced Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Release 3, which is a national standard for documenting and reporting claims transactions. WCAIS's EDI interface supports claims management and workflow, and it allows staff and interested parties to view and annotate documents electronically.
Since implementing WCAIS, we have continued to update the system with quarterly releases that allow users greater functionality, efficiency and ease of use.
In the end, WCAIS has introduced system efficiencies and enhanced customer service. With a more agile and customer-friendly system, carriers, TPAs and self-insured employers experience cost savings as a consequence of streamlined processes.
We welcome feedback from the workers' compensation community to ensure continual system improvements and, as such, maximize the effectiveness of the workers' compensation system. The department continues to promote economic development and strives to offer an improved business climate through a variety of initiatives and programs to help Pennsylvania's employers and workforce to remain world-class and globally competitive. WCAIS is one of many tools used by Pennsylvania to ensure that workers and employers are beneficiaries of a robust and thriving economy.