USDA NAD Uses the Access Module for Appeals
Delivering Greater Access to Citizens with Secure Electronic Filing System
For more than five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Appeals Division (NAD) has used Tyler’s Case Management Development Platform to automate the appeals case management process for program decisions. With its implementation, NAD was able to replace an Oracle database and digitalize multiple processes to better track and manage vital cases across the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Rural Business-Cooperative Development Service, the Rural Housing Service, and the Rural Utilities Service.
Enhanced Communications Between Citizens and Agency
The Tyler team configured and implemented the Case Management Development Platform as an integrated appeals case management system known as NADTrack. It is a comprehensive system to collect, retain, and retrieve documents and audio files, track all appeals processing, and report performance statistics on the outcomes. While the implementation started as a typical legacy database conversion, it evolved into a robust integration of both data and content with business workflow, performance tracking and reporting, and employee and customer engagement.
The NADTrack system extended access to the general public (appellants) and to the agency’s case workers (legal staff) and lawyers. The Case Management Development Platform Access Module made it possible for public users of NADTrack to initiate appeals via a web-based user portal, as well as upload documents and information to the system throughout the appeals process. These appellant documents include a formal appeal, Director Review, Reconsideration, Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) request, or petition for EAJA Review. The technology also permits users on the appellant and agency sides to modify active online appeals, receive email notifications for electronic filing submissions, and check the filing status of appeals.
Functionally, this module provides email notifications to users and permits them to obtain information about the status of their online request and the ability to modify or even cancel the request, and upload additional documents. It is provided to customers via the public USDA-NAD website and adheres to all USDA -NAD style guides as well as USDA’s policy regarding electronic signatures.
Scalability to Handle High Volumes of Appeals, Documents
Under specific programs such as the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, NAD manages information tied to more than 69,000 individual cases using the Case Management Development Platform. The agency has documented approximately 23,000 hearings and more than 15,000 hearing and review determinations within its system. This is a significant jump in annual and cumulative volume, according to USDA officials. The agency also has achieved its goal of increased transparency by publishing more than 16,500 decisions on its website since deploying the platform.