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Glossary of WCB Terms

Overview/Features


Introduction

An option is available to most parties of interest of Workers' Compensation cases (insurance carriers, TPAs, self-insured employers, and attorneys) to download or retrieve a compressed file (zipped file) containing Adobe PDFs of almost all WC claim correspondence (notices, letters, etc.) from the Board instead of having the correspondence mailed. Health provider notices (HP-2, HP-2.1, HP-3, HP-3.1, HP-6R, and HP-6.1 notices) are also included in the file (health care providers signing up can only receive these HP notices and not the claim notices as they are not parties to the case).

It is important to note that with this process the recipient will have to sign in (manually or computer-automated) to a Board server to retrieve their notices, as opposed to having them delivered by mail (a change to an active role as opposed to the passive role with paper mail), although you can have an email sent to you to notify you that a file is present to be picked up.

If a party chooses to receive their correspondence by file, almost all correspondence will be generated in that manner. There are just a few exceptions that will be sent by U.S. Mail, including correspondence that is manually generated or contains an attachment, correspondence relating to Disability Benefits cases, or correspondence pertaining to Board appeals.

Communication Means

The means to retrieve the documents is either via a download through a web browser (https), or via secure FTP. After registering, your representative is given a user ID and password (one per organization) to access your organization's account. That account can be accessed by either a browser or FTP script.

Transition to Electronic Download

An interested party would register on-line. At least one person must be designated in the registration as the company's administrator for this process. Administrators receive any information from the Board concerning the process. As part of the registration process, the administrator will be emailed a trading partner agreement which an officer of your organization will need to sign and have notarized and returned by mail to the Board.

Parties of interest that sign up will participate in a 90-day testing phase. During this initial phase, you will continue to receive the mailed paper notices while, at the same time, electronic copies are produced and placed in your account folder on a daily basis. This will allow you to get comfortable with the electronic process and adjust your correspondence handling procedures to incorporate the advantages of receiving notices electronically. It should be noted that you will receive the electronic version of a correspondence a few days earlier than the mailed paper version due to the lag of physical mail delivery.

Towards the end of the 90-day testing phase, you will be notified that the duplicate mailed correspondence is about to cease and asked to notify us if you wish to go back to just the mailed correspondence. If you do not respond to the Board's communications concerning the end of the parallel test phase, the Board will assume you wish to continue with the electronic notice and will cease mailing the paper notices at the end of the parallel test.

At any point during the testing period, you may choose to begin receiving only the files and discontinue the paper notices, or go back to getting correspondence only by mail. Your administrator should contact the Board's Help Desk by e-mail at helpdesk@wcb.ny.gov. The Subject line for the e-mail should be "Electronic Notices (EDI): Wish to change status". The email should be sent by the organization's administrator for this process and include the user ID and company name. A Board representative will contact the sender. A mutually agreed upon date will be set for the change.

File Specifications

The Board notice will be in the Adobe PDF format. This format is viewable and printable on a computer using the Adobe Reader software available free from the Adobe website at www.adobe.com. There will be one PDF file per notice or letter. The PDF version of a correspondence will look exactly like the printed and mailed paper version.

The naming convention for the PDF files is: WCB Case Number, followed by WCB Form ID, followed by File Creation Date (YYYYMMDD) and an auto-generated internal number, for example, "12345678_C23_20000706_074645.pdf". If a WCB Case Number has not been established, 'NOCASEID' will appear instead of a case number. The information built into the filename is designed to facilitate sorting by case number and matching to a particular notice by form type and date.

Multiple PDF files for a day are compressed into a single "zipped" file to reduce file storage space and download transfer time. It is this "zipped" file that is available for downloading. The filename structure will be "yyyymmdd.zip", corresponding to a date of "mm/dd/yyyy". This file can be "unzipped" using a commercial product like WinZip (version 5.5 or greater), or shareware software like PKUNZIP (version 2.0 or greater). Before unzipping, your representative may need to determine if there is enough storage space available on the drive he/she is unzipping to. WinZip will list the space needed, and running "pkunzip -v *.zip" will inform him/her of the space needed. (A sample zip file with fake notices in PDF format is available for downloading at the end on this section.)

When the downloaded file is unzipped into all the individual notice files (extension of '.pdf'), there will also be one text file (with extension '.txt'), which can be used to reconcile what is received. The text file contains three lines providing information on the number of notices contained in the zip file, and if all notices in the file were printed: the number of pages that would print on a duplex printer, and the number of pages that would print on a simplex printer. This can be used to check that the number of notices and pages printed is correct.

A single printed notice might encompass multiple sheets of paper. The documents print on blank 8½ x 11 paper; no pre-printed form is needed for any of them. Some of the forms are two-sided, so a printer that supports duplex printing is best; however, if your printer does not support duplex printing it will still print the forms with the back side of a form printing on a second piece of paper. Because of the possible situations described in this paragraph, the number of pages printed out is likely to be greater than the number of notices received (i.e., the number of PDF files). The text file mentioned above that is included in the zip file will provide the number of notices and number of printed pages for duplex and simplex printers.

If in the exceptional situation that processing was prevented at the Board for a day, then the next day there will be a greater number of PDF files than usual contained in that day's zip file. There will be no file available for retrieval on New York State holidays.

To view a sample zip file with three made-up notices in PDF format, click on testfile.zip

Retrieval

For both https (browser) and secure FTP transfer, the administrator you specify in the registration will receive an email notification at the email address given in the registration that a file is present. This is the default setting, which can be turned off if desired. If you wish to use a group email address that goes to a group internally in your organization specify that email address in the Comments area of the Administrator Contact information in the registration.

  1. Browser download:
    1. If you are receiving the new file notification email and your email system allows you to click on imbedded links, you can click on the imbedded link, sign in, and be taken directly to the file referenced in the email, which you can then click on and download to your computer.
    2. If you are not receiving the new file notification email or cannot click on the imbedded link, then you open your browser window and type in our server URL and sign in and navigate to the appropriate folder. A list of files will be displayed - download the one you are interested in.
  2. FTP transfer:
    1. For computer to computer transfer using FTP your technical staff would write a script with the server URL and account user ID and password imbedded in it along with navigation and download commands.

Files you have downloaded should be deleted off the Board's server after a time in order to avoid filling up your account and thus prevent new files from being loaded to your account. You should keep the copy of the file you downloaded for a few months in case you have any question as to when you received a notice.

New files will be posted daily to your directory (usually in the early morning). Note that some days there may be no notices produced for your organization and hence there will be no file present for that day in your directory.

You can set your own schedule for retrieving notices - daily, every other day, weekly, etc. Files may be downloaded multiple times; for instance, two different office locations can each download the same file.

To download a sample zip file with three made-up notices in PDF format, click on testfile.zip

Questions or Problems

If a question arises or problems are encountered your representative can contact the NYS Workers' Compensation Board Help Desk. The representative should indicate his/her request is regarding "Electronic Claims Notices EDI" so the Help Desk may forward the request to the appropriate person or unit.