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Labor & Industries cuts paperwork time and costs for customers

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August 19, 2013

Tumwater – A new online service from the Department of Labor & Industries will allow customers to opt for electronic delivery of most claims-related mail — a move that could save the agency $1.3 million in the first year alone.

L&I began the project in response to the concerns of health-care providers who were manually opening and processing large volumes of mail. The mail was mostly required copies of letters and legal notices about injured workers' claims. The new "electronic delivery" option will reduce mail handling for providers and save millions for the workers' compensation system.

"Reducing paperwork for health-care providers has been an important goal for L&I," said L&I Director Joel Sacks. "The easier it is for them to do business with us, the more time and resources they have to care for injured workers and other patients."

L&I estimates that if it can reduce its claims-related paper mailings by an expected 30 percent in the first year, it will save more than $1.3 million. The annual savings in postage, paper and handling will increase to $2 million if 50 percent of mailings go electronic.

The cost savings for medical providers and employer groups could be even more significant.  

Washington law still considers the injured worker, the employer and the health care provider the legal parties to every claim, and a "cc" of every mailing still is required. But the Legislature in 2011 approved L&I's request that electronic, as well as "paper" correspondence, be permitted. Now any authorized party to a claim may sign up to view, sort and save what they need from an electronic inbox.

L&I customers can sign up for the new service at:   www.eCorrespondence.Lni.wa.gov

The new eCorrespondence option is the latest accomplishment in L&I's efforts since 2002 to build easy-to-use online services to both improve its service and cut costs for health-care providers who care for injured workers.

  • 2005 – Claim and Account Center: L&I introduces its Claim and Account Center, giving participating health-care providers, employers and injured workers secure online access 24/7 to all documents and decisions in a claim.
  • 2007 – Find A Doc: Injured workers can now go online to locate health-care providers in their area who accept L&I claims.
  • 2009 – Provider Express Billing: To speed payments and reduce the paperwork burden for health care providers, L&I introduces an electronic billing system providers can use - even with their own software.
  • 2011 – Medical Fees Schedules and Rules Lookup: L&I launches an extensively tested online application that allows doctors to quickly locate information about what procedures and medications are covered by L&I, reimbursement rates, and policies.
  • 2011/12 – File Fast: Health-care providers now can file their patients' workers' comp claims online – speeding claims processing.
  • 2012 – Explanation Of Benefits Lookup: Providers are able to review the explanation codes associated with processing claimant bills.
  • 2012 – Drug Lookup: Providers are now able to type in name of medication on L&I website and get fast answers to questions about coverage and policies.
  • 2012 – Medical Provider Status Lookup: L&I provides online access to its listing of Washington health-care providers who meet new state standards for treating injured workers.
  • 2013 – eCorrespondence: An electronic-delivery option for claim-related correspondence and legal notices is made available to authorized health-care providers, employers, and injured workers.

Broadcast version: The Department of Labor and Industries is starting a new service that will ease the paperwork burden and save money for many health care providers who care for injured workers. No longer will doctors, clinics and hospitals need to manually open and process the large volumes of claims-related mail L&I must send.  By signing up for L&I's new e-Correspondence service, routine mailings are sent electronically and can be easily saved, deleted or routed. L&I estimates that in the first year alone it could save one-point-three million dollars in paper, handling and mailing costs.  And that's not counting what the health care providers expect to save — not having to open all of those envelopes. Employers and injured workers also may sign up.

For media inquiries, contact:  Renee Guillierie  360-902-5673 or Renee.Guillierie@Lni.wa.gov

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