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!)

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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.

A Job Analysis Would Help You Win a Prize!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Have you been to the Williamson Pumpkin Paradise? We visited on a beautiful October Sunday afternoon and I was in awe at the creative produce! After wandering around in the fields for a time and looking at plenty a pumpkin looking for a home, we selected one.

As I’m writing this, I realize I’m not knowledgeable about “how to pick the perfect pumpkin”! So, what I’d do, I did the research!  Indeed, I found out the fact is a pumpkin is a fruit! 

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Pumpkin seeds are nutritious and tasty!

I really like the sidebar from the publisher of a pumpkin site, it reads:

“I’ve always thought that we don’t choose pumpkins. They choose us! There is an unwritten magical connection when you find the perfect pumpkin.”

This is the pumpkin we selected, being one of my favorites, it made it home:

2015-10-26 17.10.27

Even though I am green, you can still carve me into a beautiful Jack O’Lantern!

What’d you think Randy paid for this pumpkin at a cost of .40 per pound?

Pumpkin Head Randy

What do you think it weighs? 10, 15, 25, 35, 40 pounds, what about 50?

Randy was probably not carrying this pumpkin as safely as he could (read: wheel barrows were available.)  

I lifted it and carried it in my arms as well for a time while walking through the field, gauging how much I thought it weighed. I was a little too high and I really couldn’t carry it for very long. The load was just not being carried correctly. Recommendation: Do a job analysis Amy!

2015-10-27 15.25.25This baby was much easier to manually handle!

Guess the correct weight of the green one and you’ll win a prize (a free consultation or maybe something just as valuable!)

Answer to be made available on Halloween! … continue to read on about another Randy (yea, not my husband – the KC fan above with the pumpkin head) … who just called me!

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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

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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.

 

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.

Big Miss Steak…Cut Your Meat, Chew A Lot and Eat Slowly!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We humans make some big mistakes. It’s those misguided or wrong actions or judgments that range from simple to complex that can cause alarm and then when understood and corrected can turn into an unforgettable learning experience.

My family and a couple of the kid’s friends had Florida travel plans in June of 2017 to visit my mom and her new husband Dave; and my sister who lives in the Sunshine state, too. Disney was in the works and a lot of beach time was in mind!

We were ready to board the plane…in fact most passengers had already boarded, when I heard over the intercom something to the effect of “stop boarding.” I then witnessed passengers I watched moving into the plane’s bridge walk back out with their carry-ons in tow; and thought “oh no, no, no, this doesn’t seem right.”

After all passengers were back in the boarding area, the announcement came on that the plane had been hit by the baggage handling cart causing a hole in the fuselage and we would not be flying. I listened to several passengers give their theories…and some actually felt the impact from the baggage cart when it hit the plane on the side. Wow.

The flight was canceled…after being at the airport patiently waiting to board for 3 hours, because no rescue plane could be found.  Did you know rescue planes existed?

Many passengers were grumbly and we figured someone at the airport possibly got fired. I watched with fascination through the terminal window as the plane was being inspected, even the pilots were taking pictures! 

Being a Saturday evening, this was the last flight of the week until Thursday, (can you read into what airline I’m referring to if you’re familiar with DSM to Orlando flights? Although there were some options for our travel the next week, none would have worked out for each of our schedules. No vacation in Florida. No Disney for the kids. No beach for me…and I even packed four bikinis!, no seeing our friends and family, no nothing…and all the energy involved in the planning of the trip, down the tubes.

I really just wanted to get out of the airport and back home that day. I looked at this experience with the family as practice however, because we’ll be doing it again! Plus I learned how to pack more efficiently and now know I can take food on the plane! 

Question: How the heck did a human driver hit a huge airplane with basically a golf cart and seriously damage it? This was A Big Mistake affecting a lot of people! Of course my mind went into litigation thinking as there could probably be some lawsuit for any reason. Good thing no one was injured; and hopefully those who really needed to get to Florida ASAP got there without too much anguish.

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You’re Fired!! You’re Fired!! You’re Fired!!

When my son Jacob was very young, he used to love to repeat You’re Fired! You’re Fired! You’re Fired! over and over and over.  I really never had any idea who he was firing, but he did a lot of it! Jacob was fond of Charizard, of the Fire/Flying Pokemon species, maybe that’s why he was fond of the phrase you’re fired? Are you? Have you ever been fired? Have you had to fire someone? Did you learn from it?

Okay, here’s one (of my own mistakes) about me as I was getting ready for the Florida trip. As I considered what to take as a carry-on (free on this airline), I decided upon a smaller purple suitcase with wheels I’ve used before…and as I was packing it I felt something lodged at the bottom.  Upon retrieval, I found a maroon jewelry box and opened it.

Wrapped up in tissue was my diamond tennis bracelet! Being missing for over a year, I had seriously thought it was lost for good. Okay this Big Miss Steak wasn’t so bad, and I hope I learned my lesson.  There was another time time I was stopped at airport security because a pocket knife was found buried inside an unknown ripped seam inside my little purse.Oops.Swiss Army Knife Clip ArtI strive to be extremely careful with my work, especially with my writing skills. However typos do arise and I’ve been known to unfortunately miss my own (including having a date wrong on my resume for a couple years before I noticed it!)  BTW, other’s typos glare at me.  But big mistakes, like negligence when it comes to a patient’s health care, is something I can help with.

I’ve recently worked on a medical malpractice case; and in this case the patient died, however my role/goal was to perform a vocational evaluation and assess his earning capacity had he not died in such a short period of time. For more information on my work in this case and how I followed basically the same methodology as other evaluations, please contact me. 

Image result for big miss steakYes everyone makes mistakes and everyone needs to be careful in our roles at work. I don’t know if anyone was fired or if there was any lawsuits over this airport incident, but it got me thinking about mistakes, including the many of my own.  

I’m not saying eating steak is a mistake, but I agree becoming a vegetarian is a big missed steak!  Keep in mind I am a vegetarian and have not eaten steak since 2011 (although I can’t deny the great smell!)  To each their own, just be sure you cut your meat carefully, chew a lot, and eat slowly!

Contact me if I can help you on a litigated case involving work!

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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.

Employability, Hireability and Placeability ~ Got Ability? Need Proof?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

To continue on with my post on getting level during divorce, I’m offering working definitions of 3 of my favorite ability descriptors which are:

Employability, Hireability and Placeability

Looking for proof icon

Although my vocational assessment and evaluation assignments span a variety of jurisdictions and are designed to meet referral needs, the concepts of Employability, Hireability and Placeability remain constructively intact.

~ Employability ~ Can try to prove

employabilitySimply put, employability is about being capable of getting and keeping fulfilling work. It refers to the capacity to function in a job and to be able to move between jobs the person could actually do considering personal circumstances. There may be an overlay of disability, physical or mental limitations, or specific work-life needs that come into play when determining a person’s employability.

Employability depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities and how these assets are used within the context which work is performed or is sought. To evaluate employability, it helps to break the concept into manageable pieces. I take a look at the skills, attitudes and behaviors the person has developed through their work background and a variety of other life experiences.

To know if those skills, attitudes and behaviors are in demand, I then research and survey the person’s labor market to identify jobs that match the person’s background and capacities.

It works best for me to highlight the person’s skills and capacities in the best possible light! Skills are transferable regardless of disability, especially with creative adaptation and accommodation.

In addition, if there are avenues to match the person more closely with jobs (eg: short term training), further vocational research is performed with the results offered in a helpful way.

Using all this type of data allows me to try to prove the person is employable. It’s not easy, but I can certainly explain my opinion of a persons employability.  In fact, I’ve evaluated many people and have testified to my opinion many times!

~ Hireability ~ Cannot prove

Hireability

The term hireability is a way of describing the likelihood an individual might get hired for a job they are physically and psychologically capable of performing.

The most prevalent method of hiring is the interview, therefore, it is always helpful to view how a person presents their skills. The individual’s presentation is critiqued, job searching skills are assessed and other issues are addressed relative to the potential to attain employment in various environments.

Further, hireability is about a person’s soft skills, including their style of communication, level of self-confidence, initiative, tact, and motivation. All these elements are important to a business who has hiring needs!

Throughout my placement experiences, I find businesses look to hire individuals who are responsible, trainable, friendly and able to work on teams. Reliable transportation, good references, a neat appearance, and a pleasant personality are commonly preferred.

Throughout my placement experiences, I also understand often is not necessary to assess an individual for hireability, and to rely on the person’s natural ability to succeed without the need to administer a “test”.

So the reason I can’t prove hireability (unless the person actually gets hired during a specific time frame) is because I am not a business who employs people and therefore I don’t hire people. Yet I have experience hiring people when I was employed for a staffing agency in my past!

~ Placeability ~ Can try to prove

Placeability is the likelihood that a person will actually access, secure and maintain work within his or her labor market, usually in a specific job or occupation. Placeability is affected by labor market conditions (outside of an individual’s control) and is partly about how in-demand the individual’s transferable skills are and how well she or he can present those skills.

The dynamics of placeability include the availability of jobs in a certain geographic area; employer attitudes and policies, the evaluee’s age and culture; and specific occupational hiring requirements. I’ve had many years of work experience placing people and there are numerous variables!

If the person has barriers to employment, for example a functional limitation that would benefit from accommodation, resources are discussed to avoid unnecessary conflicts in the person’s working world. Please realize all functional limitations are restrictions but NOT all restrictions are functional limitations!

So you can see here how I can try to prove whether or not a person could be placed. In fact, I have placed many people in my past! 

Here’s another rather important variable: 

~ Willingness to Work ~ Can definitely prove!

I have testified to this several times. I can definitely prove whether or not a person is willing to work. All this take is for the person to be engaging in a valid job search, which means they would have documentation of what businesses they have been in contact with and the results of their efforts.

If you are a job seeker and need proof that you are validly looking for reliable work, let me know if I can help. I have lots of experience providing job seeking skills training and have helped many people secure work!

Thank you

The bottom line for any business usually involves making and/or saving money! Are you doing that? If you are employed, yes you are! I thank you! And I’m sure your business thanks you too.

Need a vocational evaluation consultation? Contact me at 515-778-0634 or 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.

Employment Discrimination and Help With a Litigation Fix!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As a vocational expert, I can help sort out the consequences of employment discrimination cases in many ways and from “both sides of the fence”.  To me, this phrase means I will be fully instrumental to help serve your client without falling off and hurting the case because I have a full grasp of what I’m on to. To accomplish this goal, I balance your case with your client’s story and use all my instincts and brain power…kinda like a cat!

Black Cat on FenceCats’ tails are instrumental in balance!

Cats’ tails serve as a counterbalance when cats walk on narrow spaces, such as fences. However, one of my felines from long ago, (Max 1987 – 2002) was a Manx, henceforth no tail but he was well able to manage cat life with his strong body shape in every way! I asked my vet, and yes, even cats with amputated tails have proven to re-learn how to balance.

Employment discrimination cases need plenty of proof and evidence. Loss of salary, loss of benefits, and lengthy unemployment can be quantified pretty easily. Other qualitative issues are more difficult to assert. For example, if there is a claim the loss of job adversely impacts income and questions surface regarding economic realities, I can help with educating the individual on how to engage in a meaningful and productive job search, or I can assess the extent, quality, and reasonableness of a current job search. It is important to keep employer attitudes towards hiring an individual terminated from previous employment in mind.

Further, I can help to determine the impact on earning potential and perform a beneficial vocational assessment and evaluation that provides data, and offers qualitative detail such as, for example ~

  • results of a labor market survey providing local job availability along with wages and benefits associated with those jobs
  • qualifications for a variety of  jobs in a person’s labor market
  • vocational training options following the discrimination or termination

I can also help uncover whether or not a good cause for termination of employment existed. That’s why documenting real time employer and/or employee comments prove helpful to sort out the nuances of the case. I’ll take a deep look at a behavior or situation that any reasonable person agrees would or would not warrant discharge. I can help determine the ramifications of ~

  • Attendance
  • Dishonesty
  • Endangerment of health and safety*
  • Illegal conduct
  • Insubordination
  • Personality/attitude problems
  • Poor interaction with subordinates
  • Work performance and productivity
  • Violation of work policies and rules

*If disability is involved in the case, under the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title I of the ADA), I can assess for qualifications, physical demands and work-related attributes; and identify reasonable accommodation(s). Keep in mind, I believe that for every disability there is some form of assistive technology to allow continued employment. Most times there is more than one way to do a job!

If necessary, I can provide expert testimony to help prove the loss of job was or was not accountable, understandable, or reasonable. Do you have a case where I might help? Give me a call and let’s talk! I hope you’ll find our conversation interesting (I can give you a couple recent case examples). And if you like cats, let me know why, really! And if you don’t like ‘em, I really want to know why!

DudeCats have other unique advantages besides their beloved / not so loved personalities.

If falling (which doesn’t happen much based on my own personal cat ownership research) a cat’s head twists to inform the brain exactly how to restore alignment in a millisecond and a perfect landing is guaranteed!

16 Claws

If a cat falls from a porous surface, 18 hooked claws do their work in an instant!

Do I have you more interested in cats or my work as a vocational expert!?!

Felix Feeling Loving 5-30-2010

Felix (2002 – 2015)

I very much miss my Felix. As mostly a cool outdoor cafe’ kitty, you were quite a lover! Felix shared his feline life with me through many a fix (both his and mine) over the years.  Keep me, Amy Botkin (and Felix with his secret bag of tricks) in mind to help in dubious or even in basic situations involving employment discrimination. I definitely can help your case through a litigation fix! 

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * 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.

Get Level During the Divorce Process With an Earning Capacity Evaluation!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As an Attorney, do you work with divorcing couples? If so, have you utilized vocational expertise to help level out the uncharted territory for your client?  My company, Vocational Resources Plus LLC, offers vocational consulting services, and specifically, an earning capacity evaluation will benefit parties in a divorce in many ways. 

Whether employed, unemployed or underemployed, an earning capacity evaluation offers valuable information regarding a person’s working world. Read on to learn more!

Time to Get Level

If you need a clear, objective picture of a divorcing husband’s or a divorcing wife’s earning potential, and not just what he or she is currently earning during the divorce process, but how their vocational background could unfold with options and corresponding wage information, let me help! As a vocational expert, I know what skills are in demand in today’s employment market, and what income these skills can command in various careers.

Career pic

I report on the evidence and am always prepared to back it up through expert testimony!

An evaluation provides recommendations on the person’s functional capacity, personality, work skills and abilities, transferable skills, work values, aptitudes, interests, motivators,  work readiness and ideas for employment. Any recommendation or opinion is backed up with supportive data that highlights the individual’s vocational presence.

Based on individual circumstances of employability, hireability and placeability (3 of my favorite ability descriptors!), other factors are assessed, for example, job seeking skills and job search records.

Most importantly, during a divorce your client’s personal story deserves to be heard, especially when discussing talents that include job skills and the career the person gravitates towards.  Results of all assessments and analyses are explained accordingly in a clearly written report.

Postit marriageI can help tell your client’s vocational story realistically and persuasively.

In one case I’m aware of, the divorcing woman declined to hire her own expert (umm: me) and found herself at a serious disadvantage. The “opposing” vocational expert sure did a number on what he declared she would earn in today’s workforce even though she hadn’t worked anywhere in 10 years!

There were inaccuracies and factual errors in this expert’s report on a specific career (it was teacher) that made me wonder if he (the opposing expert) had actually ever talked to a teacher about their job in real life! (Ahh, try being married to a teacher like me!) The opposing expert did not make sense! You simply don’t start out (with an outdated bachelor degree, no license, no certification(s), and no recent teaching experience) at $50k!! Not reality!

Even following divorce, my services can help an “ex” find appropriate work. With the results of interest and aptitude tests, along with professional guidance, the value of hiring a vocational consultant is enhanced should the cost of placement services be included in the alimony proceedings.Earnings $

Knowing your client’s earnings ability will directly impact the resolution of the economic aspects of the divorce case.

Contact me to discuss how I can help level the playing field so the divorce process moves in a fair and equitable manner. It makes sense to have a person’s earning capacity known early in the proceedings. Know it before a different report may try to say otherwise! Having valid and reliable information on earnings directly impacts the resolution of the economic aspects of any divorce.

Call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-778-0634. If I don’t answer, please leave a message! Or  better yet, email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com and I’ll get back to you.  Thank you for reading and I look forward to helping 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.

A Bouquet of Gerbera to Share, Along with My Vocational Assessment Services

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Here’s a beautiful Bouquet of Gerbera as a gift to celebrate my endurance and to share with you, my Attorney Reader!

I’ve experienced website issues in the past, and if you’re like me (a self-taught web designer/blogger/site maintenance person who is totally responsible for owning a website), it is quite disheartening to have your site be down. It’s not that I didn’t try very hard to fix it, because I’ve had “issues” before that I was able to resolve, but not as complex as this one!

But with help, I was able to be back online! where today I remain essentially “worry free” with LexiConn my host service provider located in Colchester, Connecticut which was referred to me by a smart IT woman named Edie  out of Ankeny, Iowa. If you’d like a referral, let me know! Of course, an Internet “connection issue” can arise at any given moment and will need a fixin’. And in that case, I’m on my own.

So, Amy, with these flowers, I remind myself of where I’ve been and that I’m specially equipped to continue on with my choice to write to my readers! Yes, again, You my Attorney Reader!   Take some of your valuable time and look around my website. Enjoy!

What’s interesting to me is the fact that when I first started my vocational consulting practice in September of 1999, I was working part-time at a flower shop (Doherty’s on 2nd Avenue) as the “flower processor”.

The best part of what I did for this job (besides clean up the backroom, storage spaces upstairs, the walk in cooler, and other areas that needed it), was to process incoming freight. This involved (♥I loved it!♥), opening the boxes of flowers after I signed off for the delivery; and preparing the beauties for use by the floral designers. 

Related image

Related image

My very favorite flower to process is the gerbera daisy! Why You Ask? It’s all in the ease of cutting the stem!

On-the-job, I was taught how to unwrap the flowers, place them in the correctly prepared liquid solution, and cut the flower stems perfectly before placement in correctly prepared containers for storage in the cooler, as required for best results! I used a really big stem chopper like this: Related image

Watch the fingies, Amy!  No, I never got injured! And yes, I really enjoyed this part-time job (ahem, it’s not on my resume however)! I was working with live beauty! The work allowed me to continue on my life journey (the position was only short lived because my business started getting busy and I could no longer take calls in the bathroom without feeling guilty) s a flower arranger.

You see, growing up in the 70’s, I  excelled in flower arranging, even entering fair contests and winning ribbons!  I loved Garden Club, thank you Marie Hubbard my neighbor mom who was the club leader and one great teacher!  To this day I continue to enjoy arranging flowers!

Related imageWhere’d my show ribbons end up?!

Back to this blog…for awhile interesting sounding warning signs were visible at the top of my site (not at all a good thing, right?!?). There was no danger to my readers, or to myself for that matter! And it wasn’t the end of my world (but I did fret a lot).  

So after plenty of anxiety (boooh) and stress (double booooh) that was thankfully overcome; along with a big heaping of faith in myself, I dove in, performed in-depth research, made local connections, trusted my instincts, spent plenty of time and money…; and learned about my options which lead me to make a change for the better!  

In a nutshell, the decision was made to switch hosting providers (sounds easy, but really is not!) It’s a process, just like every business or personal related transaction/step/decision which is important in one’s life and simply has to be made.

Related imageRelated imageI feel a tad smarter in this huge Internet world! Plus this learning experience offered me additional insight into who I am as a self-proficient small business operator.  And allowing me to help you even more with your client who may be just that: a self-employed small business person. My plan for my business is to continue to utilize my website for the purposes it was intended when  I started it up <link to my disclaimer!< in the Spring of 2011!

Could your plan include contacting me to help you help your client?!  If you need any sort of vocational assessment, I am definitely one of your choices and would like to be your preferred chosen choice!

Although not easy to prepare for because each one is unique, the assignments I accept are fulfilling and I appreciate the opportunity to help and use my creative resources. Give me a call 515-282-7753 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   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.

 

Need A Good Report? Rebut No Matter What!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I was taught that vocational report writing is a very powerful form of communication and can influence the degree of success for the individual for whom it was written.  I love to communicate through the written word and have written many, many, reports! Blog posts too!

So this blog is to be sure you, my Attorney Reader, know I’m here to help critique and/or rebut a report that may cross your desk.  Image result for report

How many people do you know who really love to write reports? I do! It’s not that the report writing process is easy, it’s a challenge!!

Let me ask: Have you ever read (or tried to decipher) a vocational report that doesn’t make sense?  Is the report ambiguous and difficult to read? Does the person it was written for understand it? Do you understand it? Is it possible the report can be defended? Or should the report be ripped apart, piece by piece to get to its’ nuts and bolts? Need a critique or a rebuttal? I’m here to help!

Rebut No Matter What! 

Bull

This was my husband Randy’s Grandpa Cliff Yearington’s Bull. Cliff knew a lot about Bulls & Bulls*** too. 

Loosen, take apart and re-assemble that poorly prepared report. Will it fall apart or simple wobble on? A poorly prepared report stresses difficulties but doesn’t offer much information about solutions. It talks about weaknesses rather than strengths; deficits and negatives rather than pluses and positives. It seeks to make threats rather than suggest changes. It uses multiple words, unclear statistics, and a slick method to confuse rather than clarify.KeepitSimple

Simply, it’s not helpful to write an entire vocational report about how bad off the person is, especially without mentioning plans to help make a positive impact on the individual’s life.

I love to comb through reports and make all attempts to uncover what the contents say to the reader.  Just because it’s a report doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to make sense! A report still needs to flow, tell a story, describe details and make valid and reasonable conclusions.

Here’s a sentence commonly found in reports from the same vocational person that I’ve been asked to rebut. [Keep in mind this long line comes after results of testing are provided within the report, but they are not explained at all!]

It is important to note that the purpose of all vocational testing done and reported here is to compare an individual’s current performance with their past performance as documented by their education, training, experience, and the standard worker trait factors associated with that history.

Say what? What does this run-on sentence mean?  The writer is using testing to compare performance? Did the evaluee’s past performance have anything to do with the testing administered? Did this person take the same tests throughout their work history? And then the paragraph continues…

 It is NOT correct to confuse an individual’s current test performance with performance in work prior to injury, as current performance is likely affected by the sequelae of disability.

Okay, now who is confused? The test taker? The person administering the test? I’ll tell you who….the reader!Related image The reader is easily confused by a poorly prepared report! 

Don’t be a confused reader! It’ll get you nowhere!

My initial question regarding this vocational report scenario, maybe helping to avoid confusion from the get go, is WHY were EACH of the specific testing instruments administered at all to this specific person? What is the rationalization for administration? The vocational person who wrote the report does not come close to answering these questions. To be ethically sound, administer testing only with a direct and relative reason to do so. 

I’ve written a professional report about my opinion on ethics and use of testing in vocational evaluations. Please contact me for a copy of the report. If you are my contact on LinkedIn, you’ll find it there readily available for now.

The underlying use of testing results to try to prove a person is permanently and totally disabled raises many ethical questions. Would you want that for yourself?

A test, really, a series of tests that I was forced to take, I didn’t understand, and simply put I didn’t want to take…those results determine my fate? Absolutely ridiculous! Results of testing are meant to assist a person for true and valid reasons…..not to paint a picture of “post injury residual vocational potential”

Image result for testing cartoon

Would you like to take ~ 10 tests in a single sitting?  Heck, No!

Without testing, evaluation is merely speculative

Really now? I’ve helped to place literally hundreds of people without administering testing! And many other placement people do too! If you understand the persons skills and match them with jobs in the local labor market, there’s a match!

Yes, of course I use certain standardized tests and self-assessments to help people when it is appropriate for reasons directly related to their placement goals, but that isn’t all I use during a vocational evaluation! I gather knowledge and assess many other areas involving work, interests, skills, aptitudes and lifestyle to help. I do not rely on only the use of test results!

Back to report writing, which is a very specialized skill; and I continuously study, practice and improve upon my own writing skills. As a professional writer, I never stop training! I think I gained natural talent from my Grandpa Jack, a journalist!

Image result for writing

When I’m writing, I get very absorbed! My office cat will testify to that!

Again, do you need a critique or a rebuttal? I’m Your Person to Help!

If your opinion on a case doesn’t mesh at all with the report on your desk, please contact me to help sort out the discrepancies. Keep in mind, I know opinions are just that, opinions.  And reports are meant to answer questions, not raise more!

I also want you to keep in mind that if you believe in the truth, there’s a way to show it. Contact me for expert testimony and witness services, too! Oh, and I definitely can rebut a life care plan as well! Thank you for reading this 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.