Episode 28 Federal Workers Compensation Coffee Break Podcast – OWCP – ECOMP Deep Dive
Federal Workers Comp Coffee Break Podcast
Federal Workers Compensation Coffee Break Podcast is about all things related to Federal Workers Compensation, FECA, OWCP, DOL; Longshore claim filing as an injured federal worker. The podcast is an educational and informative training on how to navigate the DOL, OWCP claims filing process for all types of injured US government and federal workers. The podcaster has 27 years in assisting with federal workers compensation as a consultant and trainer. The podcast is free and is educational. If you need help with anything related to a federal workers compensation claim…help is just a cup of coffee away.Dr. Taylor’s educational podcast utilizes his experience and history as a DOL – OWCP provider and his years of consulting and teaching all things federal workers compensation related. This is an educational short form format for learning how to successfully file federal workers compensation claims. So grab a cup of coffee and lets begin.
ECOMP – Electronic Document Submission DEEP DIVE
ECOMP – Electronic Document Submission
This podcast is a deep dive of ECOMP and how to navigate the ECOMP system and how to find or upload documents that are relevant and how to use and search for docs on ECOMP. Now this is the 2nd of three ECOMP podcasts that we are doing. The first one is podcast #3 which is called ECOMP BASICS. I recommend that you listen to that podcast before listening to this one. The 3rd and last ECOMP podcast is about how to setup an ENTITY (which is someone you designate as a representative that has permission to access and upload on your behalf any and all documents to ECOMP. Once I complete these three ECOMP podcasts I will go over the OSHA 301 form and how to file OSHA 301 with your CA-1 or CA-2 claims. I also will post the training videos and tutorials in the podcast info page of this episode for those of you who want more information or are like me and are visual learners. The video tutorial is available in ECOMP’s home page ..click on the Help Menu under User Guides / Injured Worker / Introduction. https://www.ecomp.dol.gov/#/help/userguide/claimant
So, lets start our ECOMP deep dive. Some of the content of this podcast is specifically to address questions I receive in my email about ECOMP.
Ok, first …Do I need to register with ECOMP in order to electronically upload a document? You do NOT need to register in ECOMP. All you need to upload a document is the case number, as well as the claimant’s last name, date of birth and date of injury.
Now in review …what is ECOMP? How is used? What should I upload to establish my claim? ECOMP is a website login portal that provides federal agencies with an electronic system for recording workplace injuries and illnesses, and processing claims under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA).
Once you register and verify your identity in ECOMP, you will have access to case information and letters from OWCP. As I said before there are several tabs to click on and we are going to review a few of the most commonly used tabs on the page. First, select the case under the “Cases” tab on your ECOMP Dashboard to view the CASE REVIEW page. The CASE REVIEW page is divided into two main sections.
The upper section includes the high-level case information and links to Pharmacy Benefits, Bill Pay Inquiry, and Find a Pharmacy. The lower section features five tabs: FORMS, CASE DATA, CA-7 TRACKING, COMP PAYMENT HISTORY, and LETTERS. Click on one of the tabs to view the corresponding case information.
The FORMS tab lists all claim forms for the case. You may file a new claim form using the NEW CASE FORM drop-down menu. Click the “Upload a Document” link to upload a document to the case. The CASE DATA tab displays additional case information. The CA-7 TRACKING tab displays a table with information about Form CA-7s you have filed for the case. The COMP PAY HISTORY tab displays a table with nine columns about comp payment information. The LETTERS tab displays four additional tabs: Overdue Response, Response Required, Completed Response, and Informational Letters. A separate tutorial is available on the tutorial page for LETTERS from OWCP. I highly recommend watching that video.
If you been hurt on the job and you are a Federal Employee or a Contractor and have sustained a work-related injury or illness, use ECOMP webpage to report the incident to your supervisor.
If you are a Federal Employee you may also file a claim for benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). Depending upon your agency, start by filing OSHA’s Form 301, then file a claim using either form CA-1 (for traumatic injury) or form CA-2 (for occupational disease). After you have received an official FECA case number, you may also file form CA-7 (Claim for Compensation).
With most Federal Division of Workers Comp you can electronically receive and respond to letters from OWCP directly through the ECOMP webpage Dashboard.
When you login to ECOMP as an injured federal employee you will see that on the left side of the page there are several TAB boxes with titles. On the left side of the tabs are E-Documents that are filed in that TAB box that are part of that information. If OWCP sends you a letter requiring a response, it will now appear in your ECOMP dashboard under the “Action Required” tab that is on the left off the page in the tabs section. You can respond online and attach documents to your response.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: If OWCP sends you an informational-only letter, it will only appear in your Case View, which you cannot access from your dashboard. To access your Case View, you must click on the case number from your dashboard.
2nd IMPORTANT change since the end of 2020, OWCP now is using 202-513-6860 as the sole telephone number where you can reach them from 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. ET, Monday – Friday (except for federal holidays). This new voice line will replace the current 12 FECA district office telephone numbers and provide you direct access to your assigned Claims Examiner. Enter your FECA case number when prompted by the system and you will be routed directly to your assigned Claims Examiner.
OK back to ECOMP: Can I file a form using the Electronic Document Submission process in ECOMP?
Forms should not be submitted via the “upload document” feature in ECOMP. If your agency enrolls in ECOMP for electronic form filing, you may be able to register and then use the “file a form” portion of ECOMP. If your agency is not enrolled in ECOMP, you will receive a message telling you so and you should contact your agency for instructions on how to file a claim form.
Can I submit any kind of document through ECOMP?
Most documents related to a case file can be submitted via ECOMP, but a few cannot. This next section is very important to remember if you are a newly injured employee.
Claim forms for new injuries and/or compensation (CA-1, CA-2, CA-2a, CA-5 and CA-7) must be submitted through the Employing Agency. Some agencies use a different component of ECOMP for this process, but check with your Supervisor or Injury Compensation Specialist for more information on filing these forms. Also, CA-16 forms issued by the Employing Agency should not be uploaded via ECOMP.
Medical bills and well as requests for authorization of medical procedures from medical providers, must be submitted through OWCP’s Central Billing and Authorization Facility.
A request for an Oral Hearing or a Review of the Written Record with the Branch of Hearings and Review should be addressed to: Branch of Hearings and Review, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, P. O. Box 37117, Washington, DC 20013-7117. A request for an appeal with the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board should be addressed to: Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board, 200 Constitution Ave NW, Room S-5220, Washington, DC 20210. Review any formal decision you may have received for more information regarding the appellate process.
Do not request these type of appeals with ECOMP portal. It will never get answered or acknowledged.
When will my Claims Examiner receive my document in ECOMP? Documents should be uploaded into the case file, and viewable by OWCP, within 4 hours.
What document types can be uploaded with ECOMP?
You can upload the following document types with ECOMP:
What if I can’t access a case to upload a document?
Remember, you can only upload documents to an existing OWCP case file, and the 4 pieces of identifying information (case number, last name, date of birth and date of injury) must match exactly. ECOMP does not provide a query feature, so if you cannot access a case with the information that you have, please contact your District Office. You can internet search OWCP district offices for your regional location.
Should I upload documents individually or should I combine them if they are for the same case? Good question!
Please, Upload one document at a time. For instance, if you are uploading an operative report, a treatment note and a job offer for the same case, these should be uploaded as three (3) distinct documents, as opposed to one (1) combined document. Make sure they are distinct and separate.
What if a document is too large?
ECOMP limits the size of the document that can be uploaded to 10 pages or 5MB. This size limit should accommodate most document types related to the claims process. A few tips to keep in mind if your document is too large:
If you have the document in electronic format already, try uploading it in the original format rather than printing and scanning, which can make the document size larger.
If the file size is too large, try saving the document with a .png, .tif, .pdf, or .jpg file type. These are usually smaller.
Be sure you are uploading one document at a time. As noted above, if you are uploading multiple document types, they should be uploaded as distinct documents, as opposed to a single combined document.
If your document is a color document, scan it in black and white instead. Even if you submit a color document, it will be converted to a standard black and white format when uploaded into the case file. Using black and white, as opposed to color, will decrease the file size.
Check your scanning resolution or image quality. When documents are uploaded into the case file, they will be converted to 200 dpi (dots per inch) so scanning at a greater dpi, which increases the document size, is unnecessary.
Do I need to keep the Document Control Number (DCN) number for future use?
You can enter the DCN into the Track Status feature in ECOMP to see whether the document has been received by DFEC. Beyond that, however, you would need to contact the District Office handling the case for further information regarding the disposition of that document. The Claims Examiner will NOT need to have the DCN to locate the document. So do not believe them when they say that they do! Keep a diary with dates and times for everything you upload or your employer or doctor office uploads along with the DCN # to assit in findings documents quickly in ECOMP!
What category should I select for a document?
ECOMP provides 19 choices for document type. Choose the most appropriate option, but note there are no negative consequences for selection of a wrong category. The document will still be uploaded into the case file and available to OWCP. But since you might forget where you uploaded it …remember to keep those DCN or digital control number. I will quickly review the 19 categories of document types to choose for your document upload.
General Inquiry (Non-Medical) – This category should be used for essentially any document that is not included in one of the other more specific categories noted below. Documents in this category would include general inquiries about the claim addressed to the Claims Examiner.
Medical – This category should be used for any type of medical document, i.e. treating physician notes, diagnostic tests, operative reports, CA-20 forms, work tolerance limitations forms (OWCP-5a, OWCP-5b, and OWCP-5c), physical therapy notes, functional capacity evaluations, etc.
Nurse – This category should be used for documents specifically pertaining to OWCP’s Nurse Intervention Program, also known as communication from an assigned Field Nurse CASE manager to the Claims Examiner. Documents obtained by the Field Nurse that fit another category should be indexed accordingly, e.g., if the Field Nurse obtains an operative report, it would be indexed as Medical. Note – If you are not an OWCP Field Nurse, you will not need to use this category. But if you have a nurse case manager and you want to see the documents that they are uploading…you might want to check this document type.
Rehab – This category should be used for documents specifically pertaining to OWCP’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program, i.e. communication from the Rehabilitation Counselor to the Claims Examiner. Documents obtained by the Rehabilitation Counselor that fit another category should be indexed accordingly, e.g., if the Rehabilitation Counselor obtains a functional capacity evaluation, it would be indexed as Medical. Note – If you are not an OWCP Rehabilitation Counselor, you will not need to use this category.
EFT (Direct Deposit) Form – This category should be used to upload Form SF-1199A or equivalent to enroll to receive compensation electronically via direct deposit.
CA-1032 Form (Completed and Signed) – This category should be used by injured workers who have received Form CA-1032 from OWCP, to upload the form after it has been completed and signed. Form CA-1032 is issued to all claimants on the periodic roll on an annual basis. This information is used to decide whether the claimant is entitled to continue receiving compensation benefits, or whether his/her benefits should be adjusted.
Address Change – This category should be used to report a change of address to OWCP.
Attorney Fee Request – This category should be used by attorneys to submit requests for approval of fees charged to the injured worker for representation, prior to collection.
Bill Payment Issue – This category should be used to request assistance with issues concerning payment of medical bills
Case Copy/Document Request – This category should be used to request a copy of the case file or documents from the case. Only the injured worker, authorized representative or employing agency (with limitations) may request copies of case documents.
Compensation Question – This category should be used to submit questions pertaining to payment of compensation in the case.
Designation of Representative – This category should be used to notify OWCP that the injured worker has designated a representative to communicate with OWCP about the case. We are going to do a separate podcast about designated entities.
Election (FECA/OPM/VA/FERS Offset) – This category should be used to submit a completed election of benefits form or other correspondence pertaining to an election between FECA and other federal benefits that the injured worker is entitled to.
Employer’s Claim Challenge – This category should be used by an employing agency when it wishes to challenge the validity of an employee’s claim for FECA benefits.
Job Offer Copies – Acceptances and Copies for the File – This category should be used to provide OWCP with a copy of a modified duty job offer that has been accepted by an injured worker.
Job Offer Rejections or Non-Responses – This category should be used to provide OWCP with a copy of a modified duty job offer that has been declined by the injured worker, or for which response was not received.
Reconsideration Request – This category should be used by an injured worker or representative to submit a formal request for reconsideration in appeal of an adverse decision issued by OWCP.
Request for Authorization – This category should be used to submit correspondence pertaining to requests for authorization of medical services by OWCP. Please note that medical providers should not upload medical authorization requests to case files, but should instead follow the
established procedure for requesting medical authorization via OWCP’s vendor.
Request for Hearing/Review of the Written Record – This category should be used by an injured worker or representative to request a hearing or review of the written record by the Branch of Hearings and Review, in appeal of an adverse decision issued by OWCP.
How will I be notified of the response to the document that I uploaded via ECOMP? VERY COMMON question!
Documents uploaded via ECOMP which require a response by OWCP will automatically be entered into the OWCP correspondence tracking system upon receipt. The document will continue to be tracked until a response has been issued. Response may come in the form of an outgoing letter or documentation of a telephone call that provides information that is responsive to the inquiry. Most of the time you will get both a letter and a call by your case worker. But keep a diary of your submission. It is very common that uploads are ignored that are date sensitive.
Will I be able to see my document in ECOMP after I have uploaded it?
Uploading a document to your case file via ECOMP is a one-way transmission, similar to dropping an envelope into a mailbox. Therefore, after you have uploaded a document and it has been incorporated into your case file, you will not be able to view or access the document in ECOMP.
What if I have a general question about the claims process and/or a case?
ECOMP can be used to submit documents for a particular case file, but it does not provide a communication vehicle with the Claims Examiner or the District Office. You must contact your servicing District Office if you have questions about a specific claim or the claims process. You may also wish to visit DFEC’s website for more information.
Well that does it for this episode of Federal Workers Comp Coffee break Podcast.
I want to thank you for listening and want to remind you to share this podcast with other federal workers you think would benefit from this information. Also if you need an approved medical provider for your DOL -OWCP Or Longshore case in Florida you can find me in Tampa at two different locations and in Jacksonville. To make a consult with me to discuss your case or if you know someone if Florida who is recently injured you can call the clinic at 813-877-6900. Also if you are in another state and you want me to assist you with claim questions or assistance for your doctor you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Links for tutorials: https://www.ecomp.dol.gov/#/help/userguide/claimant
Dr. Taylor’s educational podcast utilizes his experience and history as a DOL – OWCP provider and his years of consulting and teaching all things federal workers compensation related. This is an educational short form format for learning how to successfully file federal workers compensation claims. So grab a cup of coffee and lets begin.
Dr. Taylor’s contact information for more information or assistance is: https://email@example.com
If you need a provider or assistance with a DOL claim in Tampa, Jacksonville or other areas of Florida you can make an appointment to see him and the other providers at his clinic at 813-877-6900
His clinic website is https://mrtherapycenter.com/federal-work-injury-blog/ and at twitter: https://twitter.com/FedCompPodcast