Every month, TDI’s Division of Workers’ Compensation receives hundreds of requests for records of workers’ compensation claims that can date back to the 1960s.
DWC first checks to make sure the person requesting the confidential records has a right to them. Then staff may find the records with a few keystrokes on the agency network. But, until now, as many as two million claim files created from 1992-2005 were only available on paper.
To improve data security and make it quicker and easier to fulfill record requests, the division started work in September to convert its backlog of hard copy records to digital format. The massive project has a goal for all claims file records from present day to 1992 to be accessible electronically by August 2017
“We now use multiple resources to respond to a records request,” said David Ekrut, DWC director of records management. “Once the claim files are digitized, there will be a single point of contact for each request and records staff will be able to access all the claim files in real time.”
The division keeps its oldest claim files from before 1992 on microfilm and microfiche.
A vendor will scan claim files and store the encrypted data until it can be imported into the division’s TxCOMP system. Ekrut said all files leaving the division records warehouse will be carefully catalogued so that staff can continue to locate them when requests come in.
“If we receive a call from an injured employee, an employer, or an insurance carrier for a claims file –and it is an eligible request – we will continue to respond in a timely manner.”
The TxCOMP system is used statewide by division staff to look up claims and make status updates.
Workers’ compensation claims files can vary in size from a single page to hundreds of thousands of pages, Ekrut said. He estimates that up to 21,000 boxes of files will be scanned, freeing up much of the storage space in the division’s 24,000-square-foot warehouse in southeast Austin.
Source: Texas DWC
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