Rights of the Expert Witness ~ I’ll Take a Veggie Slice, Please

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rights of the Expert Witness

expert

I continually assess and evaluate (there I go again!) my rights, values, professionalism, and of course ethics (which I really enjoy!?!) and am hopeful to write more on these topics and my career in the field of forensic rehabilitation consulting.

As far as rights, I found this great listing online (website is referred to below), and yes I added the graphics! I agree with the following essential considerations for taking on the role of expert witness:

  1. I have the right to be paid for my work.  Dream of Getting Paid
  2. I have the right to be prepped in advance of my testimony.
  3. I have the right to ask questions about the case.
  4. I have the right to work for either side, without fear of retribution.
  5. I have the right to change my opinion from previous testimony, as long as my opinion is evolving (based on new information, science and/or experience) rather than revolving (based on which side I’m working for). 
  6. I have the right to say “I don’t know”, if in fact, I don’t know. Just because I’m the expert doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I am clearly okay to say “I’m sorry, that’s outside my scope of practice”.
  7. I have the right to solicit objective feedback about my testimony from  the attorney who has called (and of course, they have the right to  decline to give it).
  8. I have the right to set limits with counsel about the scope of my testimony. 
  9. I have the right to disagree with another expert’s practices or  conclusions, even when I perceive that expert to be: a.) more educated;  b.) more famous; or c.) more experienced. 
  10. I have the right to disregard the initial instinct to view opposing counsel’s expert as the enemy, but instead recognize everyone’s role in the process and share pizza and a bottle of wine with that expert after trial is over.

Pizza

 Truly, it’s all good work!

I am glad my career continually evolves! I accept responsibility when providing forensic services to be clear, truthful and comprehensive in my evaluation and report products, and in my role as an expert witness. Thank you for reading!

Please contact me Amy Botkin for more information ~ 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

I’ll take a veggie slice and a glass of Chardonnay please. You?

Source for Rights: http://www.forensichealth.com/2011/07/13/10-things-the-fho-expert-witness-bill-of-rights/

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Need an Expert Witness on Your Litigated Case? Choose Me!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Happy Turkey-less Day to those who won’t be gobbling a gobbler this Thanksgiving!  I personally won’t because I continue as a pescatarian! My two younger adult children Jacob and ArinJune continue their vegetarian lifestyle. Not my oldest son Nick, for he’s an incredible meat eater! Although the no meat eating rubbed off on me many moons ago, I still enjoy eating fish (tuna mostly).

Thank you Jake and AJ for showing me a lifestyle I probably wouldn’t have gone for had it not been for you two. But then again, I may have become really fantastic at grilling steaks (no, that’s Randy’s area.) 

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I love the taste of turkey and found a delicious vegetarian roast that to me tastes just the same! My opinion counts!

For this post, I want to write about a way to chose your own path. I’ll start with a link to a post when my daughter Arin started a new job at Walgreen’s.

Over the two years she worked at Walgreen’s (she resigned earlier in 2014 to move on in different ways with her lifestyle), Arin had many customer experiences (including her days working as a host at Okoboji Grill as her first job, she knows a thing or two about customers) and I value her opinion

She’s shared many interesting retail shopper stories from her Walgreen’s days.  The worst was one day, she turned around while at the cash register to get perfume out of the locked glass cabinets for a customer, when she turned back, “the customer” was racing out the store with Chanel No 5 in her hands, along with other stolen items, and right out the front door.

Some shoppers are kind with good intentions…get in the store, find what you need, pay and get out of the store…all while being grateful and appreciative you found what you were looking for!  Then there are other shoppers who seem to float around in a bubble without realizing their bubble is more of a brick! Some shoppers are demanding, have no regard for other shoppers or the retail clerk, and are even down right rude. Yuck!!We all are continuously affected by the energy of other people in both positive and negative ways. My daughter quickly learned that the less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people, the more peaceful your life will become and the more productive you’ll be on the job!

AJ’s goal at work: Help customers find, buy, and get out of the store with minimal distraction…along with an idea or two of how to get the customer to spend more money (especially products with incentives found within her own department, which gave Arin more in her paycheck!) This knowledge, my dear daughter, takes a certain level of emotional intelligence. Good for you!

Emotional intelligence is a huge factor in my work as an expert witness.

A very helpful and proactive way to limit how much we are affected in many settings and situations by where others are is a simple technique called being in your bubble.  Using your bubble when you need to, or realizing others are using their own bubble, takes a level of emotional intelligence, kindness and grace.

My sister Janice has told me to get out of her bubble more than once!Bubble

Bubble Me Up

I can’t find the source for what follows, but I’m sure whoever it is would be happy to share! Being in your bubble goes as follows:

1.) Spend a few moments with your eyes closed, quieting your thoughts.

2.)  In your imagination create a big clear soap bubble all around you that is about a foot out from your body.

3.)  Notice yourself within this bubble, and acknowledge that any type of energy you don’t want to experience in your own body will be unable to get through the bubble, and will just bounce off.

4.)  Walk through your day within your bubble. Take a look at the bubble periodically just to affirm that it is there, and recreate it whenever you want to.            Bubble

 Bubble Me Down 

There’s great reasons to use this tool to manage the energy that bounces around us all of the time. It frees you up to create the experience(s) the way you choose, while leaving others free to their own expression. You won’t need to get into the struggle and discomfort of resisting what others are doing or thinking, because it happens outside of your bubble and doesn’t need to affect you.

I hope your work week is productive, and you enjoy experiencing the energy that surrounds your work and home environments.

And if you need an expert for your litigated case, I’m here to help you help your client. In fact, I value the opportunity to help.  The choice is yours! 

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC            lcpresourcesplus.com          515-778-0634 

amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Here to Help The Passionate Attorney Help Your Client ~ Life Care Planning Services

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Along with vocational consulting services, I offer you life care planning services. Life Care Planning Services are valuable to passionate attorneys such as yourself: One who works to your fullest potential for your clients; One who truly cares about your client; and One who strives to maximize the best outcome for your client.

A Life Care Plan will help you help you help your client.

cartoon lawyer  Are You a Passionate Attorney?  Image result for woman attorney cartoon

Comprehensive Life Care Planning Services focus on the individual who sustained a personal or catastrophic injury, has a congenital disease or acquired illness, or suffered a traumatic event that altered his or her life leaving them with a disabling condition. The individual and his or her family is in need of planning how to live with these ongoing life changes.

Image result for passionate attorney cartoon   Are You a Passionate Attorney? Image result for group of attorneys cartoon

A Life Care Plan outlines an individualized holistic program that documents your client’s specific healthcare needs and a projection of what it costs for that care over their lifetime. An economist reviews the plan to determine the present value of the costs.

Even more, a Life Care Plan  helps prevent medical complications, enhances community and society participation, considers quality of life issues, and assists in maintaining emotional and psychological health. 

The person’s life now has important healthcare needs and significant costs are associated with those needs. How can you, the person’s caring and passionate attorney prove this, or show this to others, and why would you need to do so?

A Life Care Plan is helpful in many ways, here are three,

  1. to facilitate decision making relating to the individual’s health care, long-term care, and special needs; and perceive the related costs;
  2. to identify and obtain good care in the individual’s community, whether at home, an assisted living facility, or, if necessary, a nursing home; and perceive the related costs;
  3. to help move the litigation process forward, and ultimately to settle or win a case justifiably at the highest level possible using real data!

A Life Care Plan involves a systematic process (I do that part!) of developing a “road map” of the care, goods and services the person will need to ensure optimal health, safety and life satisfaction. A plan also highlights what it is the person will need to restore or improve their life activities to their maximum potential.

Keep in mind that while most Life Care Plans are developed for people who have suffered a traumatic injury, Life Care Plans are increasingly used for older adults with chronic conditions to anticipate their health and financial needs in later years. Do you have a client in this elite category? If so, be prepared for more future that focuses on healthy living! (Hint: Get a Life Care Plan!)

Image result for quality of life

The standard definition of a Life Care Plan is a “dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs with associated costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs. (IALCP – International Academy of Life Care Planners, 2003. Definition established during the 2000 Life Care Planning Summit.)

Please visit Dr. Deutsch’s webpage for much more information on Life Care Planning. Dr. Deutsch was on my training team!


Above is my most recent CRC Certificate and below is my most recent CLCP  Certificate

I am a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP).  As a professional in rehabilitation, I am able to develop a plan using  advanced knowledge of specific disabilities, established treatment care resources, and a consistent objective approach toward the practical and functional elements involved in providing the treatment of catastrophic injuries and diseases. 

Communication and negotiation skills are essential (so true) while working with patients, families, caregivers and treatment teams. Keep on perusing my website, which is mainly a relationship building blog, and read my writings. I’d be happy if you would truly consider how Life Care Planning Services will help you help your clients.

Contact me ~ Amy Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP ~ at 515-778-0634 or by email at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  so we can start discussing your case.

I’m here to help you help your client!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

When, Where & Why You Need a Life Care Planner for Your Litigated Case & Who Can Help? Me!

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When Do You Need a Life Care Planner?

Typically a life care planner is helpful for legal cases involving catastrophic injuries or chronic health conditions.

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  • Lawyers, physicians, and insurance companies can hire a life care planner to research, analyze and develop life care plans for patients who experience catastrophic injuries or chronic health conditions related to birth, brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation, trauma, burns, and other serious injury.

Where Do You Need a Life Care Planner?

A life care planner is useful in a variety of jurisdictions.

  • In legal cases that include workers’ compensation, personal injury, medical malpractice and marital dissolution
  • A plan is also useful to protect assets when aging, disability or chronic disease raises tough questions about estates
  • Other civil lawsuits, estates and probate needs

Why Do You Need a Life Care Planner?

A life care planner is beneficial for individuals, families and funding sources for many good reasons.  A good planner is able to ~

  • Provide the individual and the family with an outline of future care
  • Guide people through the complex maze of rehabilitation and long-term care coordination
  • Assess diagnoses and work-related disabilities
  • Network and make connections with health care providers and holistic practitioners
  • Educate, motivate and support the family regarding their loved one’s needs
  • Help insurance companies set reserves

Who Can Help? How About Me?! Amy!

Amy Pic 9-29-15Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP,

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor & Certified Life Care Planner

With my extensive training, experiences and knowledge, I am able to zero in on vocational rehabilitation needs. These needs are often a key component when attorneys and insurance companies are settling or trying a legal case involving an individual of working age.

Please take into account a child deserves the opportunity to work and make money in their future, and if permanently and totally disabled, many factors come into play when assessing their potential earning capacity.  It starts with assessing the child’s parent’s working background! 

I can help you help your client and your client’s family.

CLCP Certificate expires 2-28-21

Contact me at 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com for more information about my approach to life care planning and to discuss your case! 

Thank you for reading my blog post!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Hello My Attorney Reader! Want to Buy Some TIME From Me…a Consultant and an Educator?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You’re a good attorney, and you care about the people you represent. You’re busy working on cases and spend a lot of time on time. In fact, you even buy TIME! And, I’m writing to help you make a more comfortable TIME purchase from me, a consultant who is also an educator!

MoneyTime

I fully realize attorneys buy TIME

Time – Because you bill by the hour (and so do I), I promise to help you be more productive and, thus, more successful by providing value laden services.

Pinky SwearI promise to always respect your time.

 

Information – Because I totally understand why you HATE looking stupid (and so do I), I will provide accurate information that you want or need.

Pinky SwearI promise to always ensure you have a good reason for working with me.

 

Money – Because saving money and making money are the goals for almost every law firm (and for every consulting firm too), I will effectively use all the resources available to help with your case.

Pinky SwearI promise to be accurate and fair with my billing.

 

Education – Because lawyers always need continuing education (and so do I) to maintain your license, I am available to present to any group that would benefit from learning about my work and rehabilitation consulting. In addition, as I’m a well-trained educator and counselor, I can help you and your client in many ways throughout the case and onto trial, where my educational background is useful in front of a jury.

Pinky SwearI promise to bring new light to your litigation strategies.

 

Time on HandsHow much TIME would you like to have on your hands, especially when working on a complex case that has to do with work and disability? So there it is!  But wait, there’s more:

I, Amy, promise to Always Be True at My Core, Apple Butterflybecause that’s all I have ever had and have ever needed and I’m willing to share what I know is true.

Enjoy a piece of quality fruit (I love organic apples) and then contact me, Amy E. Botkin, to discuss your case. I’m here to help you help your client!

Email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to connect so we can discuss your case and how I might help! Thank you for reading.

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Working on a Litigated Case Involving Work & Disability? A Job Analysis Can Help!

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Are you working on a litigated case involving work and disability? If so, I believe a job analysis can help you and your client, and in many ways!  A job analysis involves the process of gathering and recording objective data about a specific job.  

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Capturing what the job is all about helps to evaluate what an employee does, why the work is done, how the work is done, results of the work, the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to perform the work, and the context in which the work fits into the organizational structure.

And, as an analyzing kinda person, I’ll find direct connections to ways of the trade, and possibly record direct comments from incumbents or a worker who knows what’s going on!

JA

A Job Analysis is helpful in many ways. Plus they’re fun to perform!

A complete analysis involves visiting the job site to witness the job being performed and interviewing supervisors and employees  about the accuracy of existing job descriptions. (And that’s a story in itself!) It sure can be an interesting tour and communication experience! 

For me to find out what actually takes place on a pertinent day to day basis (without being there obviously because I have my own job to do), consulting with management and incumbents of the job along with digital video recording (right!), if helpful, allows for a critical analysis of the parameters of performance at a work place, including common physical demands of duties of a job. And trust me, a video can produce some humor too when’s it’s needed  at work! 

Image result for humor job

Once the job analysis describing the critical duties of the job, an evaluation of the work environment is completed, and a report written is prepared and presented, there, hopefully will be a greater understanding of the essential functions of the job. And to each person the job can be functionally different. Right yes, so it just depends on how one goes about doing it!

JA Matrix

This understanding allows me as a vocational expert to make recommendations for reasonable accommodations and to testify to the efforts of the employer to provide reasonable accommodations.

Need help with a litigated case involving disability and work?

I help with plaintiff/claimant and defense cases! I am not one sided

Contact me, Amy E. Botkin, to discuss your client’s claim.

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-778-0634  * amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Disability Employment Awareness Month & A Story About Pumpkin Man

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Feel the October days fly through the surrounding air! The gorgeous trees, the beautiful and interesting as always weather, and the bounty upon us is incredible. Image result for pumpkin bread

Had any pumpkin bread yet? Yummy!

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2019  where you’ll find resources about National Disability Employment Awareness Month and  a historical timeline of the ADA.  These sites are knowledge-filled and helpful to a student studying for the CRC exam!

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Happy 29th ADA!  The birthday was officially celebrated in July, but I always like to extend partytime!

“Signed into law in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is civil rights legislation that works to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including employment. At the U.S. Department of Labor, we are committed to delivering on the promise of the ADA, not only for today’s workers with disabilities, but also future generations.”

The ADA plays an integral role in the live’s of many people. It gives people with disabilities the right to file lawsuits in Federal court and obtain Federal court orders to stop ADA violations. Any vocationally relevant factor entwined with the person’s civil rights, will describe or amend a violation.

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Ready to go, willing to do, and happy to help!

Hiring me to perform the research specific to the worker and the situation, prepare an individualized needs assessment and vocational report, and then present in front of a judge or jury makes sense.

If your case involves the ADA, I’m fully interested in applying my knowledge of the law as it relates to employment and help you help your client!  Here’s a great newspaper story of Pumpkin Man, a hard worker who dares to live his dream!

FYI: Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including State and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations. https://www.ada.gov/ada_title_I.htm

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Pumpkin Man, Oh Pumpkin Man! Just as Tasty as Gingerbread Man!

Please contact me at 515-778-0634 or email amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com and we can set up a time to talk. I can describe to you a recent case I had involving an employment discrimination lawsuit.  Thank you for reading!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Randy and His Perpetual Flip Off! Need an Expert on Your Case Involving Work & Disability?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The evening before my dad’s funeral in May 2016, my husband Randy walked our dog Bella.  Holding his cell phone in one hand while talking to my mother about his part in the service, the other hand held the leash. Bella’s a big Aussie girl, weighing in around 60 pounds;

and from what I hear, a huge raccoon made an appearance near a sewer opening down the street just as they were walking by. This appearance led Bella to lurch towards the coon…pulling hard on the fingers grasped around the leash, and breaking husband’s finger in the process. Ouch.

Early the next morning, we had to hit the road to make the trip to Iowa Falls and, well, experience what would transpire during my father’s service…and beyond in this world for those of us who loved him and enjoyed his company.  

Here’s one of my favorite photos of my dad!

Randy never saw a doctor for his finger injury. I wish he would’ve though. I performed my version of physical therapy and Healing Touch on him, but to this day…well, Randy has a broken middle finger that sticks up in such a way it resembles the image below!

Get my drift?

The funeral service was nice, and my mom did a great job choosing the readings and what to sing! Randy read the first reading, my sister Julie the second and Father Tony the Gospel, of course! I was a communion minister for dad’s friends!

Many of dad’s church friends were involved in the Mass Mass and he would’ve loved that! In fact, one of his buddies told me my dad was like a brother to him. At that moment, my heart grew stronger knowing my dad was very special to another person. Clearly, that was God’s presence, and one of many experiences I feel during life!

One good thing was my dad was cremated, so no handling of a heavy casket with a broken finger!  Afterwards, we had a nice lunch that my dad would’ve enjoyed as well. Love You Dad!

So, to this day, Randy’s finger exhibits a perpetual flip off! Pretty cool huh?  When certain people, like a friend he hasn’t seen in a while, questions why he’s flipping them off, instead of going into detail, he just says “I dunno”.  Just recently, he came home from his job and remarked one of his fellow teachers wanted to know why he flipped her off.  He smiled and replied ~

 dunno!

A great memory from October of 2016 was of Randy driving into and out of the parking area of the Kansas City Chief’s Arrowhead stadium pre-and post game (they won!).  Soo many people, staffers, and cops too! Well, they all got the flip off! But, no one noticed, which to me made it quite comical! 

It’s a “I do know” factual concept for me to tap into emotional intelligence when I’m being deposed or testifying (I believe it’s okay to flip someone off under a table or in your mind as a form of mental exercise!!). So contact me, my Attorney Reader, if you need an expert and I’ll offer my complete time and attention  as an consultant and an educator for your case.

Keep me in mind as I also offer consulting services to help attorneys come up with good questions to help you prepare for a deposition and/or cross examination in a courtroom on cases involving work and disability.

I’m Here to Help You Help Your Client!

The best way to contact me is by email at  amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

How to Handle Conflicting Medical Opinions? With a Forensic Approach, of Course!

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Upon referral of a vocational case, I review a variety of  medical data (for example: treating physician reports, Functional Capacity Evaluations, Independent Medical Evaluations) and/or psychological data (for example: psychometric testing, psychological evaluations, psychiatric evaluations) found within the file. During a workers’ compensation litigated claim, and for that matter, any claim that involves work and disability, it’s important for me to understand the individual’s medical situation based on the data contained in these records.

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Good thing I’ve had medical records training and enjoy the review!

If a file contains more than one FCE and/or IME, I can expect the reports to have conflicting opinions. For example, one physical therapist will recommend the claimant has the physical capacity for light work, while the other physical therapist says medium work. Often the therapists also have conflicting information about the individual’s maximal (or lack of) effort put forth during the evaluation.

I Did My Best

The claimant needs to say honestly and sincerely  “I Did My Best!”

Assisting the individual (who can be referred to as the injured worker, the claimant, the patient, the testee, the evaluee, and potentially the client)  in returning to work following an injury is a central role in my specialty of placement. This involves finding the best occupational match within the individual’s own labor market. A person’s “doctor imposed restrictions based on an FCE” should not direct the provision of placement services. A person’s knowledge, skills, interests and abilities should!

Image result for opinionWith conflicting opinions from professionals, what data should I rely upon to perform a beneficial service?

I understand conflicting opinions are influenced by components of context and can be derived from subjective views. 

To resolve discrepancies I first ask myself, why is an FCE being used for this specific claim? The utility of this type of scientifically based evaluation, the training sources, performance methods, test protocols and standards to measure them are numerous. Professionals may have opposing views for their own reasons but I must be able to articulate their reports into vocationally-relevant terminology and tell a story about meaningful and gainful work. And it can be challenging to do this if I don’t understand the conclusion of the FCE report to begin with!

WORK

I love reading medical data rich in detail about a person’s world of functioning!  And I love writing reports rich with detail about a person’s world of work! 

A functional capacity evaluation is actually a term with various definitions, purposes and constructs. The purpose is to  evaluate an individual’s capacity to perform work activities related to his or her participation in employment. It seems that in essence, by having a functional capacity evaluation a person is likely to be put in an unfortunate position of deciding whether he or she is willing to return to work.  If willing, there’s a way. If not, there’s no way.

From what I know, there are approximately 10 different types of commonly used functional capacity evaluations. Here in Iowa, I am most familiar with FCEs with names like the Isernhagen Work System, the Blankenship, Matheson, WorkWell and X-RTS. The reliability or validity of any system is somewhat irrelevant to me because the testing is already entered into “evidence”. What is relevant to me is whether or not I comprehend the results and recommendations contained within the evaluation.

Sometimes I can, sometimes I cannot. I always use a “Does This Make Sense to Me? test!

Image result for conflictingIt’s up to the dualing physical therapists to make their best points during litigation, I’m not in that ring!

I feel fortunate of connections with several physical therapists allowing insight into their clinical practice. I attend continuing education programs, and recall one that helped me understand various approaches to FCE’s specifically the X-RTS Lever Arm.

Thinking Cap

The X-RTS Lever Arm passes my make sense test!

So within the context of my vocational consulting work while cautiously putting any judgment aside (which seems hard when I know I know certain things), I analyze and compare each FCE while considering the testing results.

I analyze and compare FCEs! Whoa!

I note whether the FCE report is readable and user friendly. I assess if I understand terminology and methods used, how long testing was administered, what actually was administered, the claimant’s behavior during the test, and how the evaluator came to his or her conclusions. Does it make sense?

I look for descriptors regarding the results of testing in relation to real jobs. Are there concrete and realistic recommendations regarding strengths and weaknesses in relation to performing physical demand levels of various work situations? I definitely look for the goals and expectations for the evaluation, and whether maximum and consistent effort was made by the evaluee. Comments on the suitability of the testee’s future employment options along with the evaluator’s observations are valuable and should be included.

Thinking Cap

Continuing on with analyzing and comparing FCEs! Whoa! It’s important to note what body part/extremity the therapist focuses on in relation to what body part/extremity was injured. For example in one report, the therapist discussed lower extremity activities, when in fact it was an upper extremity injury. If the report cites examples or uses too many percentages, it’s important to understand how the therapist justifies examples. I’m familiar with a therapist who changes the percentages of the same examples from report to report. That doesn’t make sense to me.

I try really hard to make sense of most things and situations!  No sense

If I am able to square an FCE in my mind after careful and prolonged study, is it possible the claimant could do the same? That  would be  fortunate, especially if the therapist offers good recommendations that make sense!

How does the evaluee, when not truly the therapists’  patient when referred for an FCE by their own work comp attorney; with an additional FCE visit to a different physical therapist by the defense attorney  (that makes 2 different reports prepared by 2 different therapists) perceive discrepancies in the results? Sadly, in my eyes the FCE often gets “interpreted” through an attorney. The repeated pattern of thinking of one’s functional capacity as “poor” does not help anyone return to work.

If there is an IME (Independent Medical Exam), it may seem more geared towards one of the FCEs. Regardless, I try to comprehend all reports, noting the one I understand the most. I’m not so sure that an IME is really a “fresh set of eyes” in the workers’ compensation cases I’ve worked on. This topic is another blog in itself.

Putting both, or multiple opinions in a vocational report and making use of other documentation to support my ultimate and final opinion is a great idea, however I have to be cautious to not put myself in a role that isn’t mine (which is making a medical opinion which I can’t do).

If I am able to provide a doctor (ideally the most recent treating occupational health or rehabilitation doctor) detailed information directly related to a specific occupation or line of work and any resources that could help the doctor understand how such work is performed in a smart, safe and effective manner, many benefits arise.

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Clean your lenses!

There’s a clearer understanding of the vocational rehabilitation process and with agreement from all involved, there’s a higher likelihood one could see a successful common outcome (return to work). This certainly helps solidify my vocational opinion and make reasonable recommendations. Yet, this type of opportunity is not frequently available (it is for me to though through processing a life care plan!). Please know I always search for a way to best express my vocational opinion.

In my reports, I document what medical records I’ve reviewed and then use the actual words from the individual during an interview (or deposition review) describing how s/he details their physical impairment.  Often I hear verbatim what one doctor wrote in their restrictions. The evaluee will respond to my open questioning about any physical limitations (sometimes after the evaluee refers to his/her doctor’s letter) and read or have it memorized saying: “no lifting over 20 pounds, avoid twisting, bending, stooping, sit and stand as needed.”  No sense

What do those words really mean in real life? The individual doesn’t seem to know either. Ask an employer if they have a job that involves no lifting over 20 pounds, no twisting, no bending, no stooping, no this, no that…and that’s not talking their language!

The evaluee who responds to me in this fashion (using verbatim restrictive words) needs future vocational counseling. Vocational counseling (which may or may not be provided depending on the nature of the litigation) helps to gain a clearer understanding of how the person’s medical situation has changed their daily living (especially in the context of their own world of work). This understanding leads to the ability to articulate the individual’s capacity for success to others (family, friends, job interviewers, etc.).

Please keep in mind, the term “restriction” is not conducive to a successful job search. The ability to explain who you are and what you can do from a functional perspective to help a business make or save money is what is conducive to a successful job search. Restrictions should never be the focus of job placement. Skills are!

Rehabilitation counseling is especially important if the individual is searching for a job, requiring job seeking skills training on how to or (how not to) disclose disability or any functional limitation. The personal attributes gained from training helps the placement process move forward with common goals avoiding getting stuck within a few words that don’t apply to working reality.

WORKWhile staying true to my convictions and firm beliefs that a person can work if the person wants to work and has the capacity to work, I need to understand the dichotomy between science and clinical practice is more imagined than real.

If healthcare professionals submit conflicting reports on the same individual, I need to be able to resolve inconsistencies to better understand and appreciate the opinions offered. It is not my role to determine which opinion is correct. It is my role to utilize available information, provide a beneficial service, and make a sound vocational opinion regarding the individual’s strengths and weakness in relation to work capacity and employability.

Matching People With Their World of WorkIt’s rewarding when I can clarify a person’s sense of their own world of work.

I strive to extend the value of FCEs in the litigation process. I am trained not only in understanding a client’s functional abilities at work, but at home and at leisure. (Need a life care plan?) Together my knowledge with those of other experts, contributes to decisions about the economic losses, or damages, for which the person receives compensation.

Thank you for reading this long post! I’m here to help attorneys like you help your client. Contact me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  and let me get to work for you!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Free Initial Consultation on Personal Injury Litigation, Give Me a Call!

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Free is always my favorite Word of the Day! What about you? Does free rank right up there? If you’re not aware, Zombie Burger makes excellent milk shakes, and what’s really special is on your birthday, your shake is free!  Image result for free

The chocolate wedding cake shake is my favorite although it’s really “only a chocolate shake” because Zombie’s wedding cake shake is made with a vanilla base. But, I like to pretend it’s a unique shake made by my only daughter who works there to help me celebrate my birthday, my wedding anniversary,  and my work anniversary all mixed together deliciously!Image result for free

Image result for chocolate milkshakeSpoil me, don’t spill me! 

Actually when you think about it, I’m a basic, simple customer considering how many different shakes are available!

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You and I, my Attorney Reader, Image result for chocolate milkshakecan meet and I can offer you free initial consultation to discuss your litigated case and how I might help you help your client!

Free Initial Consultation on Personal Injury Litigation!

I may not foot the bill for your meal (let it be known we can equally share in the cost), but I will offer you a free steel straw to drink your shake from! Trust me, any shake tastes better through a steel straw rather than plastic.  

If it’s not your birthday on the day we meet, I will buy you a shake of your choice! And during sips, we can talk about details, how you see my work as helpful, my bill rate, and other business policies and procedures pertinent to involving me on your client’s case. 

If you have questions on a case that have anything to do with work and disability, you need solid and detailed information to base your decisions. I am here to help you design questions and build your case.

Image result for jalapenos cartoonKeep in mind when we meet (if at Zombie in the East Village), I may even try to motivate you to try my favorite sandwich with extra jalapeno just the way Arin knows I like it ordered!  And I can introduce you personally to the front hosts, a fine, upstanding couple! 

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Excuse me, I’m losing a bit of focus between thinking about eating ice cream and hot peppers with zombies, and I’m hungry! So at this point in my post, I want you to know I can also help your client by designing a life care plan.  

A plan helps determine lifetime needs and costs of care to address serious injury resulting in permanent disability while highlighting the medical recovery process, current problems and potential complications.

Life care planning that encompasses forensic vocational rehabilitation is a unique concept and I am able to provide this service.  As a certified life care planner, I guarantee I will comb through the healthcare and vocational complexities of your case,  prepare the most comprehensive plan I can for your client, and come prepared to educate a jury should it go to trial.  

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Contact me at 515-778-0634 or email me at    amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

 Let’s talk briefly and set up a time to meet!

I’ve uploaded an updated resume along with a sample plan, and brochures on my co-companies, Vocational Resources Plus and Life Care Planning Resources Plus, which you can access at the links on my website. Any questions are welcome!

By the way, Zombie Burgers’ knowledgeable staff  is used to working with various dietary preferences and restrictions, so let your voice be heard (comes naturally doesn’t it?!) when you require specific food and drink or you have interest in requesting something new! I am a vegetarian; and I tend to order the same food and drink (boring I know) when I eat out at my restaurants! But that doesn’t mean I’m not a creative person!

Most importantly, always be sure to leave good servers a good $$$ tip $$$.  Word of the day: douceur   pronounced:  doo sur    a gratuity; tip. 

Here’s my counseling “tip” for the day:  Practice yoga at home, it’s free!  I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to helping you help your client. Thank you for reading my post!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.