Excuse my ranting, but I am mad as hell. “Mad” not
as mad scientist mad or Mad TV mad, but in “12 Angry
Men” mad, perturbed, pissed off mad. Our workers’ compensation
system is broken. EAMS seems to be designed to facilitate the
demise of our system. For over 20 years, I have worked with
people on all sides of the WC spectrum. For over 20 years,
most of those people have had an interest in an efficiently
run system and have worked to promote such a system.
it seems the DWC is attempting to undermine the system by accepting
EAMS as the “technology of the future.” I am not
a techo-geek nor a techno-phobe. I do believe in this day and
age we need to be able to update our abilities to communicate,
store work product and become more efficient. In a past
I embraced the need for an updated WCAB computer system: However,
after reading a report put out by the DIR (EAMS Special Project
Report dated July 22, 2008), it is clear that the EAMS system
was dead on arrival. The project developers and coordinators
appear to have grossly mishandled the system causing the various
management teams to waste time and money on a system which
was not properly designed.
The DIR owes an apology to the various
teams, including the testing and training teams, for providing
a dead system which could not be resuscitated. The system was
only designed to handle 1000 concurrent external users. The
DIR estimates that external use would be between 2,000 to 100,000
users. Excuse me, but why would the DIR authorize a system
to allow as few as one percent of the external users to access
the system? Each user will require a license to be a legal
user. This is ridiculous!!
How can one explain why only 1000
licenses were provided? Either there was an oversight, in which
case every one of the persons involved should be flogged and
then fired; or there was a conscious decision to limit access
to end users. In such a situation, major legislative changes
could be demanded to “solve” the problem. But,
in light of the recent legislative antics, I doubt we can expect
much help from the legislative branch.
In any case, where is the oversight? Why has the elephant in
the room been ignored? Why are we requested to “Narc” on
the judges who go around the system to get their work done?
If the judges worked within the system on each file, nothing
would be accomplished.
For instance, our office is required
to electronically file all exhibits through EAMS. When we arrive
at the hearing, do you think the electronically filed documents
exist in the system? Does the judge have access to them? Nope.
They are somewhere in the system, but we need to bring a hard
copy. Save a tree, right?
Our clients, whether defense, applicant
or lien, cannot receive a timely hearing with this system in
place. Do we have due process issues? How about basic processing
issues? At a recent Monday hearing, a Northern California judge
was inundated with over 40 MSCs on his morning calendar. We
were told there was an EAMS issue in the scheduling. So, half
the calendar was continued to other dates. What a waste of
time and money for all involved.
Does our state legislature
(read congress) have any idea what is happening with EAMS?
If the Legislature were to shut down due to lack of funds,
would anyone really care? The EAMS administrators seem to be
able to dip into millions of dollars. Is anyone overseeing
this waste of funds?
Where did the first $50 Mil go? Who in
their right mind really thinks that blowing another $50 M will
solve the problems the EAMS system has created?
from scratch (fire every administrator associated with the
current system and the developer). Make sure that the system
is “user friendly” and does not require multiple
functions/clicks of a button to open a document. And next time,
make sure you have enough licenses and band width for the number
If the system is not revised soon, the users, judges,
attorneys, carriers, support personnel, will end up taking
matters into their own hands. i.e. local rules.
Why would the
DWC provide a press release announcing an award for EAMS? Everyone
knows the developer of the system was on the board that provided
the award. DWC, how about keeping quiet on that award? It certainly
is not for excellence.
On to other subjects: I have lots of questions and some suggestions:
Some people are mad about the recent video-spoof played on
Hitler with subtitles. (I forget the name of the movie
used in the spoof. However, the actor playing Hitler did a
heck of a job.) The instigator of the spoof upset some people
much like Voltaire upset the supporters of the Kings of France
and Spain and the Pope or Swift upset the English. Now, before
you think that I dare to compare the author of the subtitles
to Voltaire or Swift (there is no comparison and he knows it),
the issue is satire; not Nazi politics.
Satire can burn like
a laser ray, frost bite or fire. Each has a differing set of
properties, but the result can be the same. Satire usually
hits home because there is a bit of truth and irony in it.
We can learn from it if we are not so defensive.
How can the WCAB Commissioners and staff spend 10 months analyzing
the Almarez/Guzman cases, issue a 50 plus-page decision and
then claim they did not realize the reaction that decision
would create? And then they seek input from the community?
Solution: Stand by your decision and let the courts
hash it out. Since the decision was not stayed, extra expense
and time have been wasted.
Did the commissioners issue the
decision to prod the Governor and the Legislature to provide
an updated PD Schedule? Come on, Governor, get your people
to release the updated schedule.
Are we a people who are really governed by law? Is the Workers’ Compensation
system a system of laws or individual edicts? What is law?
Who really makes it? And how are the laws applied? Every time
the Legislature makes “feel good” laws to “protect” us
from ourselves, we lose a little freedom or we turn into criminals.
At the very least, we lose respect for the law.
California and local budgets, I wish our elected officials
would stop begging Washington for money. The TARP program really
shows what will happen. The state and local governments lose
control to the Feds. Ever hear of Federalism? We usually elect
local officials to focus on local issues, since they know our
local areas. Do we want some non-elected person in another
state or area to have control over local decision-making? Not
Solution: The State needs to stop trying to steal money from
the local governments and put together a budget which will
reduce services. Go back to the 2004-2005 Budget. Any laws
which created new programs or costs would be repealed. The
problem is not a two-thirds majority to pass the budget. The
problem is too much spending.
Is the making of a law like making
sausage or is it more like a sewage treatment plant? Does fecal
matter get processed at the Legislature and we end up with
the remnants? Everyone knows what flows down hill and it ain’t
Does anyone really believe that a “single payer” system
of health care will create a more efficient delivery model
for health care? The VA has had over 100 years of experience
in providing a system of health care. Now we find out more
than half of the facilities cannot even pass tests concerning
colonoscopies. Again, what flows down hill?
We need to focus
on evidence-based medicine to make sure that our injured workers
receive proper care at a reasonable price. In the past, our
injured workers were used as guinea pigs by providers who practiced
new procedures on them. Most times, those procedures were not
successful. Let’s focus on reducing injuries, getting
proper treatment for our injured workers and get them back
to work in a prompt manner. Extending TTD or adding additional
body parts to increase PD is not an answer for most people.
People need to work and we need to focus on return to the working
Michael G. McDonald
is the founder of McDonald Law Corporation in Concord, California
and a Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law, State
of California. He is a Director for the California Workers'
Compensation Defense Attorneys Association.
For more information, click
Michael G. McDonald, Esq.
McDonald Law Corporation
1800 Sutter Street, Suite 430
Concord, CA 94520-2563
Voice: (925) 363-4380
Fax: (925) 363-4352
Other locations: Sacramento, San Jose and Fresno