Need to Retain a Vocational Expert? I’m Here to Help!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As a forensic rehabilitation consultant, I could be available as your next retained expert!  rp_Professional-Expert-Witness1.jpg

My unique consulting services help attorneys identify insights into litigated case while first-hand testimony helps others to understand it.  In fact, listing me as an expert may spark movement in the litigation process.

I’m here to help you help your client! The sooner, the better! 

When you involve an expert like me on certain cases early in the process, you’ll be in a good position knowing you have a professional on hand for the duration of your case.

My companies Vocational Resources Plus LLC and Life Care Planning Resources Plus LLC lovingly co-exist.

Happy 22nd Anniversary! Meow Get Back To Work!!! - Business Cat | Meme Generator

I celebrate the beginning of 22 years in private practice tomorrow on September 15, 2021 and they say it’s my birthday too, yeah, I’m going to have a good time!

40+ Birthday Wishes for Myself: Happy Birthday To Me! - WishMessage

Happy Birthday To Me!

Although I’ve been in the field of vocational rehabilitation from the start…that’d be 1999, forensic rehabilitation and life care planning are both new specialties within my career!

Related image

In celebratory style, I’m reaching out to attorneys who are passionate about helping clients.

Here on this website you’ll find various links to my writings about serving in various capacities within my field, such as my focus on life care planning (with a vocational rehabilitation component), vocational consulting, placement, and serving as an expert witness.  

I like to blog about why my work is important and to help people identify how to use my services. Further, it’s fun to write and I like to showcase my credibility, methodology and expertise. Read my disclaimer!

LightbulbWant to help your clients even more? Consider tapping into my creative resources!

My analysis and opinion of how I can help your case will be straightforward, honest and grounded in rehabilitation. As such, this may or may not support your case. I can usually determine whether or not I can help your case within the first few hours of research, and will limit such fees based on our agreement.

FootballIf I have to pass on a case, I’ll do what I can to offer recommendations.

Keep in mind that permission to use my name, or in any way indicate that I am an expert witness or consultant for your side of a case, either informally or formally with other parties, is not granted until a retainer is secured. Contact me for information on retaining me!

Call me at 515-778-0634 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  and let’s start a conversation. I promise to value your time! 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 Case Involving Work & Disability? I’m Here to Help You…Depose & More

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I can help you, my Attorney Reader, in a number of ways with a case you’re working on that involves work and disability, whether it be medical malpractice, personal injury, wrongful death, workers’ compensation or any other litigation along these lines.  Legal Case FilesActually, disability doesn’t have to be involved, yet when is tends to make a case more complex! 

One way I can help you is to design creative questions skillfully as part of the discovery process allowing a much deeper inquiry into the person’s “world of work”.

My goal is to inspire you even more to do what you love to do which is ask questions, right!? And to be the best attorney you can be, double right!!

Depo

I’m sure questions you ask a deponent include those to: determine the nature of previous jobs; amount of money making; for whom s/he was working; why employment was terminated; and what qualifications and experience s/he had for the type of work s/he was doing [when injured].

You also question what work the individual has done, if any since the disabling condition, describing job duties; and determining previous employers and earnings.  Questions posed to encourage a deponent to detail what it is s/he can and cannot do are important, too.

These are all good questions from you yes, and critical of course (although kinda boring in my humble opinion!). Would it help you to have at your fingertips specifically designed questions (based on evidence to date) at deposition that will produce a much deeper inquiry into the person’s vocational background? I get excited when I think of sooo many other questions you could ask that really get into the meat of the matter!

meatAnd I don’t eat meat!

I’ve heard 90% of malpractice cases are settled before trial, and the deposition often is the turning point in those cases. I’d like to help you prepare questions that will lead to responses offering plenty of material for you to work on your case. My aim is to help you skin that cat in many ways and be ready for the most likely responses from your witness.

Object

My hope is that my help with your deposing techniques is valuable pre-trial as well as if the transcript is used for court. Plus, please keep in mind, I can definitely help you in more ways to better understand the individual’s disabling condition. A life care plan is perfect for that! Expert witness and testimony services are available as well.

I am here to help you help your client!

Call me ~ Amy Botkin at  515-778-0634 or send me an email message at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com and I’ll get back to you.

 

Good luck with your legal work. Keep me in mind for to help you during any depositions involving work and disability. I’m Here to Help You…Depose & More!

Thank you for reading! Do you want to really know that you love your job as an attorney?  Here’s a link to an assessment titled why-do-you-do-your-work-you-may-be-in-love that can help you find out!

___________________

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

I’m A Lot Like A Mole…Fortunately to Help You on a Legal Case!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Okay, so I do something I’m not so sure many other people chose to do and it’s clearly an inherited trait.  Dad did it too. Okay, it’s…it’s…I’ll just come out and tell you. I use bar soap and I use the soap until it is totally gone. And I mean totally! 

I don’t waste soap

Like dad, I also save and reuse paper napkins if possible (but prefer cloth!) and keep paper towels (ditto) the same way he did, until they’ve been totally used up! He’d toss, recycle or burn what he had to.

Waste Not, Want Not

(Learned the saying from dad) and ya, it’s a proverb: if you use a commodity or resource carefully and without extravagance, you will never be in need, or, if one is not wasteful then one will not be needy. You get the point, and so did I back then and I still do today.

Dad would also say things like “It’s your nickel” back when the home phone rang in the 70’s with the cost increase to “It’s your dime” in the early 80’s! Which really both made no sense at the time. But the point is: my dad was cost conscious (boy oh boy am I too)! Dad was not wasteful and I greatly appreciate inheriting certain traits from him.

I miss you so much dad! I know you are a part of me that I will have forever.  Here’s a picture recently uncovered. It’s of my dad Dick and his baby Amy! I have no idea where we are and why I’m wearing silly glasses! Pretty cute though, huh! My dad, always a good looking man!

I still look like this!

I am also quite cognizant of what I throw away. I don’t want to be wasteful and I don’t want to worsen any landfill with un-recyclable garbage (read: plastic packaging). I know plastic has many very practical and very useful purposes. But when it is used once and thrown away…that bothers me. Especially when I’m at a conference in a “green/sustainable building” and they serve all food items on single use disposal yet non-compostable products.

I recycle everything possible (and feasible considering time and other factors) and started composting (thank you to my sister Julie who gave me her used Earth Machine)! To me, the smell of good natural composition of kitchen and yard waste is incredible and to think of how it was made by helpful microbes, worms and other organisms!

When mixed with your soil, compost will revitalize it, make it healthier and more productive, and increase moisture retention! Can’t go wrong there, huh!? So, I use compost and spread it out in my yard and garden. I don’t use chemicals and pick weeds by hand!,  plus I’m into the No Mow method of lawn maintenance (although Randy isn’t).

Viola! Beautiful lawn and it smells so fresh!

However, and much to my chagrin…we got moles. They must really like their meals found in our front and our back yard. The good can seem not so good when now my lawn is disfigured with raised soft ridges and scattered holes. So, this is all natural and meant to be, right??!

Have you ever seen a mole close up?

A mole is really interesting looking, lives underground and is nearly blind. There’s been a couple deaths ~ a baby and an adult mole ~ with corpses delivered by most likely my cat Alaska in the driveway and later buried by my animal loving  husband Randy. Yes, I made him dig a hole and bury. 

I read that although a mole can detect light it does not hunt using its eyes. Instead, it relies on smell (hence the interesting snout!) and on touching wriggling prey (hence those crazy nails) using sensory hairs on its face. So a mole is good for underground life.  Based on my research : )  A mole is also territorial, strong, a hard working solitude industrious digger, and a natural engineer (just like my brother Michael).

So to safely say, I’m a lot like a mole. Yes I need to get new prescription glasses, there’s nothing wrong with my sense of smell, my nails are natural, and I have a somewhat fuzzy face according to my husband. There may be other similarities, but I’ll let you make them on your own!

I’ve talked to people, including my sister Julie, who have attempted to wage all-out war on moles without success. What I’m realizing is that molehills are signs that the soil is in good shape.

And I can celebrate that fact!

But there is lingering doubt and some anguish over the mighty, mysterious and resilient mole. And I’ve concluded a mole deserves respect, and as often as I can offer it, tolerance.

I see value and purpose in everything that surrounds me.

That’s because I’m a natural rehabber!

So, with this post, I ask you, My Attorney Reader, if you could use help in helping your client through the difficult maze of their claim, please let me help.

I won’t come to court looking like a mole, but I will show up acting like an industrious mole:  ready to dig in, make use of forensic skills, realize the work won’t be easy, and never stop aerating!

I’m here to help you help your client. And, I love to help out using my forensic rehabilitation services! Thanks for reading my post. If you would, please read it again, and consider what I wrote from a metaphorical perspective. The point is the goal of my work is to discover new ways to highlight facts of your case.  Thanks for reading again!

Give me a call at 515-778-0634 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to discuss your case.

___________________

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!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When Do You Need a Life Care Planner?LECC 2021-22 SY Preschool & Toddler Registration – Ladue Early Childhood Center

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

  • 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 You By Preparing A Life Care Plan? 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

 

I have a newer CLCP certificate on my wall with an expiration date of February 28, 2026!

Please 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! 

___________________

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

Life Care Planning Helps Attorneys in Ways & in All Phases of Litigation! Really!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Have you considered a Life Care Plan as part of your litigation strategy to help your client?

Life Care Planning helps attorneys in many ways and in all phases of litigation. The actual plan itself becomes a comprehensive document that provides for the future care and associated costs of a person facing a serious illness or injury.

In earlier phases of litigation, a life care plan helps evaluate the potential value of a case. During settlement negotiations, a life care plan helps identify monetary ranges. And of course during trial a life care planner can be critical to your litigation success!

Life Care Planning Services Help Attorneys in Many Ways,

Image result for overviewHere’s A Few:

  • Project future cost of care ~ When someone has sustained a life altering injury, trying to determine the correct and fair amount for a settlement is a daunting task. It’s difficult to properly analyze all aspects of an injured party’s condition.
  • A professional life care planner (one qualified as I am!!) can help you assess the current needs of a patient and project future complications with a systematic approach to analyzing the injured party’s current and future conditions.Related image
  • After analyzing all injury-related documents, interviewing the injured party and communicating with medical professionals, the life care planner will produce a plan that considers future costs in order to ensure a fair and reasonable quality of life. The plan will consider financial, physical, and psychological factors. In the end, you’ll have a thoroughly researched document that will prove bulletproof at settlement conferences and in the courtroom.

Related image

  • Consider likely complications ~ When it comes to catastrophic injuries and long term illnesses, you have to expect the unexpected. Almost undoubtedly, complications will arise in association with the life-altering events somewhere down the road. With that in mind, an experienced life care planner will identify the most likely future complications, allowing all parties involved to understand and adequately provide for these unforeseen circumstances.

 

  • Expert Testimony * ~ An experienced life care planner provides crystal-clear medical testimony for depositions and trial. Life care planners can accurately and simply describe the injured person’s lifetime of needs and justify the associated costs. 
  • Able to be customized ~ Not all cases require a full-blown life care plan. However, that doesn’t mean a life care planner can’t help you. The injury or illness doesn’t necessarily have to be catastrophic in order to benefit from future care cost projections. Versatile life care planners offer abbreviated plans for these special situations that allow you to evaluate case value and strategize early on.

Image result for fence cartoon

  • Establishes a level playing field ~ Regardless of what side of the fence you stand on, you can benefit from hiring a professional for life care planning services. A life care plan helps all parties know what to expect and thus helps settlements be reached more quickly. A life care planner can aid in strategizing to ensure the best possible outcome. It’s not just a time-saver. It’s a tool that gives you the key insight of one with an understanding of medical needs and the associated costs.

If you represent someone who has suffered a serious injury or illness, or a defendant accused of being responsible for an injury, consider obtaining a life care plan. Doing so will allow you to understand the future care needs of the affected party, which will result in a speedy, fair settlement.

Source for above written article (with some creative writing and clip art by me) : http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/benefits-of-life-care-planning-in-all-phases-of-litigation-3466273.html  Oct 13, 2010 • By Nancy Fraser

___________________

*As a Vocational Expert, I am also qualified to testify on the injured person’s work life and earning capacity.

Contact me, Amy E. Botkin at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com or at 515-778-0634 to discuss how a life care plan can help you to help your client. I’m here to help you help your client!

___________________

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

What Did Your Grandfather’s Father Do for a Living? Need Evidence on An Occupation?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

My mother Ann Dodge Prochnow, researched a book titled “Genealogy of the Dodge Family of Essex County, Massachusetts 1629-1894” authored by John Thompson Dodge Ph.D. Dr. Dodge was born in 1850 in Vermont. Dr. Dodge was a railway civil engineer. And he’s directly related to my mom!

My mom read the book (Ann’s brother Gerry Dodge accessed it for her online). It clearly took a lot of work, but my mom, with great speed, skill and accuracy of course!, typed several pages summarizing her research; and gave me a copy as a Christmas gift! I read it with fascination! While reading my mom’s paper, I heard myself saying hum, wow; and really?…and laughing a time or two!

Genealogy of Dodge Family Book Cover

The Book Cover, authored by John Thompson Dodge Ph.D.

Here’s my synopsis of my mom’s synopsis:

The Dodge’s are all direct descendants from Richard Dodge who was born in 1602.  My mom’s great-grandfather is Vilas Luther Dodge, born October 28, 1847 in Vermont. Vilas worked as a farmer and stock raiser in Jersey County, Illinois. He was County Supervisor and School board member, and also Director of Jersey County Agriculture and Mechanical Association. He was 5’9’ and 200 pounds! (sounds shaped kindly like someone I know…)

Vilas married Laura Dannel on February 21, 1871. Vilas and Laura had children born in Kemper, Illinois: Mary born in 1871, infant son born and died in 1872, George Dannell (my mother’s grandfather) born July 21, 1876, Ann Charlott born 1878, Fred Leroy (my mom’s Uncle Fred) born 1881 and Harriet (my mom’s Aunt Hattie) born 1886.

Genealogy Book Cover Tree

It can be exciting to learn about a family’s genealogy!

George Dannell Dodge married my mom’s grandma Helen Porter in Jerseyville, Illinois in 1907 and moved to Chicago. There they had William, John Vilas (my grandpa), Helen and Laura. Later they moved to Evanston, Illinois. All their children attended Northwestern University. George died in Jerseyville in 1960s and Helen in her 90s in New York.

My grandpa Jack married Jean. They had Ann (my #1 Mom), John, Gerald and Kathleen.  By the way, Mom and Gerald (my Uncle Gerry who lives in San Francisco) are planning to get to the Plate side of Jean’s family in the future.

Throughout these years in history, the men of the Dodge name held many jobs with professions spanning many fields (read on below please).

My grandpa John (“Jack”) Vilas Dodge was an incredible man and had an amazing career that took him all over the world! He worked in writing, as a publishing executive. I am very proud to be one of his grand-daughters! Mom tells me that her dad’s father had an insurance agency and his father’s father did too! For this blog post, I focus on colleges the Dodge family graduated from; and occupations employed by the Dodge family throughout the generations.

Relatives of the Dodge family graduated from the following colleges:  Harvard, Williams, Yale, Middleburg, Dartmouth, Colby, Vermont, Wisconsin, Amherst, Bowdoin, Brown, Columbia, Anion, Andover and Emory. Graduates included a few Dodge women!

Austin Hall, Harvard Law School Picture

Austin Hall, Harvard Law School

Relatives of the Dodge family held occupations of:  Farmer, carpenter, teacher, physician, lawyer, tailor, tanner, minister, legislator, shoemaker, shipping business, cooper, factory owner, cabinetmaker, blacksmith, mason, currier, leather dealer, stone cutter, stock breeder, clothier, editor, military service, insurance agent, constable, cotton manufacturer, banker, merchant, bookkeeper, newspaper business, lumber business, land surveyor, steamboat captain, harness maker, musician, and civil engineer. Pretty incredible careers  during this time period, wouldn’t you agree?!

Do for A Living

Lawyer, Teacher, Physical Therapist, Registered Nurse, Doctor, Accountant, Social Worker, Paralegal, Psychologist, Dentist, Engineer, Police Officer…..Chef! All Incredible Careers! 

I had to look up one job (not found  in O*NET but guess what, it is in the DOT!). A cooper* is someone in the trade of making utensils, casks, drums and barrels and other accessories, usually out of wood, but sometimes using other materials.

In other words, the cooper used many tools to do his work, he had craftsman skills with a keen eye for detail and a focus on quality control! I could consult with Living History Farms for a job analysis!

Plus, I looked up the difference between work as a currier (a specialist in the leather processing industry) and  that of a tanner (a person whose occupation is to tan hides, or convert them into leather by the use of tan).

In the past for my job, I’ve toured a tanning facility with my eyes bugging out at the strength needed by the tanners to throw the hides! In this case to analyze the job, I could interview with a person who actually does the heavy work to get first hand information!

Heart

I love assessing  worker skills, researching workplace environments, analyzing jobs, and interviewing workers!

As far as the numerous other occupations held by the Dodges, they range greatly. The Dodges used brain power, brawn power and the power to influence others (for example: attorney, banker, musician, steamboat captain, physician, engineer, insurance agent, legislator minister and … clothier!)

A Clothier

A clothier was popular, yes dapper indeed!

They used all types of machinery, hand tools, and up-to-date-for-that-time technology. The tools of any trade are tremendous! The talent from performing daily work and the credibility in a community becomes tantamount to a successful career. Boy would I have loved to interview any one of these talented individuals in their day and write their story!

I am completely fascinated by what people do for a living! Take some precious time and check into your parent’s parents’ work background. You well have well spent your time and you may be quite surprised! I was with the Dodge family that helped to form part of who I am! (Guess which part and win a prize!)

I believe work involves so much more than we think it does or see what happens when it’s performed! Think about your work and how it can evolve and change each day with your skill set!

Are you tapping into skills related to Counseling? Science? Art? Empathy? Or are you ready for a vacation where your paid work takes a break? I’m not so sure your grandfather’s father received vacation pay (and I don’t as a self employed individual).

Bonus blog: Why Do You Do Your Work? You May Be In Love!

Contact me, Amy (Prochnow) Botkin for vocational guidance or evidence on any occupation or career!  BTW, you wouldn’t find a forensic rehabilitation counselor back in the “olden days” which always brings to my mind the mystery of the working world.

If I can help you with your litigated cases, please let me know.  My specialty is consulting on cases involving work. Thank you for reading!

Vocational Resources Plus LLC        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.

 

Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story. I’d Love to Write it!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In her teen days my sister Janice (the Floridian) was quite adept at gymnastics, particularly on the balance beam where she made great use of her balancing skills.

When Janice moved on to college, dad cut up the balance beam he previously made for her to practice on for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio during a home renovation project!

Balance Beam

Dad constructed a balance beam and re-purposed it as well!

Balancing is involved in many areas of day-to-day living and is critical to an abundant life. People balance tires, bank accounts, relationships, priorities and work. We eat a balanced meal, and I believe mostly importantly, we try to keep a balanced state of mind.

In my life, finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard comments like: It’s good to fall / fail because it means you were trying. If you think about your success, you will be successful. If you think about your falls or your failures, you’ll learn to improve.

My dad’s balance had not been good lately, although he was working on improving it. He was receiving in home physical therapy through the VA and he moved continuously during each day. He was in excellent physical condition for most of his life!

But a stroke and a fall down basement steps at home lead to no return to life on earth. Before he was airlifted to the hospital in Mason City, my mom called and we drove in the middle of the night to be with him in the hospital room. And to help him die.

Highway Balance

Richard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

Dad died a week after he turned 83 in the morning on 5/5/16. I’ve blogged about Death as Part of Living, and can now fully realize one has to die from many things in order to move through life and live fully….and there’s always a story to tell.

As my dad aged, he never stopped working hard and to his best ability. There was a balance in how he lived his life, and I’ll never stop learning from him! I can calm my mind and simply hear his voice when he called on the phone.

“Hi Amy, this is your dad.”

Like I didn’t know it was him on the other end! Then he’d talk about what was happening! And it was real, interesting and well-balanced for the soul. 

In whatever situation you’re in, keep on practicing finding balance, and you’ll find a way to not fall; or a way to increase your sense of balance at its core.  You may lose direction or momentarily become blinded, but you’ll find your way again. Trust yourself. Just like my dad did driving thousands if not millions of miles on the road traveling to participate in the world around him.

On a lighter side (yes, I cried writing this, but I want you to think about your own life with no tears involved), as part of my personal story, I remember an incident a long time ago while I was working as a temporary banquet server for a hotel.

As I was walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (lemonade, tea and water)…well, never mind. Let’s say there was an imbalance that could’ve been disastrous!

Spilled Water

I learned to readjust the next tray and focus on my goal: just to get the glasses on the table safely without spilling any!

We balance our bodies in many, many ways. Balancing skills make use of poses and states of mind to focus attention on work, yoga, aerobics, tabata, healing touch, hiking, golfing, bike riding…being with the person you love. You get the drift, physical activity that involves any number of exercise moves or mental positions.

Yes, simply thinking with a sense of balance is very, very good and helps avoid failure (and falling). Jurists use a balancing test to weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case. If you want to highlight these factors, especially those that involve work and disability, let me know. That’s why I’m here on this earth! which is to help attorneys help their clients.

I will be prepared to help you bring a balanced case to court. I will write a report that tells your client’s real story with a concentration on their vocational background and potential future. If you need a life care plan for your client, again, I can help write about why the plan is needed and the likely costs for the person’s care.

Chinese Symbol for Balance

Please know my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing all to help you help your client. I’m actually really good at balancing in many ways (for one I like to stand to put my socks and my shoes on!) and I am pretty happy with my physical and my mental states of mind.

Call me Amy Botkin at 515-778-0634 to tell me about your case. Or send me an email at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking for to tell your client’s real story.

___________________

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

Conflicting Medical Opinions? Handle With Care!

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 if available psychological data like psychometric testing, psychological evaluations, and psychiatric evaluations found within the file.

During a workers’ compensation litigated claim, or on 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.

Related imageGood 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 honestly and sincerely say “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 found within 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?

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.

Conflicting options are influenced by components of context and can be derived from subjective views. 

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 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 about the results.

No senseDoes the conclusion make sense?

Are there concrete and realistic recommendations regarding strengths and weaknesses in relation to performing physical demand levels of various work situations? In other words, are there recommendations regarding real jobs found within the person’s labor market?

No senseDo the recommendations make sense?

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.

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.

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

If I am able to square an FCE in my mind after careful and prolonged study, is it possible the evaluee 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.

Related image

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!).

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? It doesn’t make sense to me and 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 and is 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.  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. Please know I always search for a way to best express my vocational opinion. Contact me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  or 515-778-0634 and let me get to work for you!

___________________

 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! 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. Call me at 515-778-0634 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to connect so we can discuss your case and how I might help!

I’m here to help you help your client! 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.

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

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’d like to share a beautiful bouquet of gerbera daisy with you, my Attorney Reader
With these flowers, I remind myself of how valuable you are to me as my client and how I am specially equipped to serve you as your consultant. Thank you for taking some of your valuable time to look around my website. 

On this site, I share information about my work background, including the fact that when I first started my vocational consulting practice in September of 1999, I was working part-time at a flower shop which was Doherty’s on 2nd Avenue as the “flower processor”.

My job in the shop involved duties to clean up the backroom, the upstairs storage spaces, the walk in cooler, and any other area that needed it, along with the best part of my job, which was to process incoming freight. This involved ♥I loved it!♥ opening boxes of flowers after I signed off for the delivery; and preparing the beauties for use by the floral designers. 

Image result for gerbera

My very favorite flower to process is the gerbera daisy!  They are great for adding color to any room or garden, with flowers that often measure 7 inches across!

Image result for gerbera flower

Why You Ask?

Do you want to ask me, so Amy, why is the gerbera daisy your favorite? My answer is: Because of the ease of cutting the stem! But the cut has to be just right for the bloom to last as long as possible! It’s not just about cutting the stem, it’s about thinking about the care involved in cutting the stem!

On-the-job, I was taught how to unwrap the shipment of assorted flowers that arrived, prepare a liquid solution, cut the stems and place them in the solution, then store them in the best place in the large walk-in cooler. When an order from a designer came through, it was again my job to bring the specific flowers out from the cooler and cut the stems perfectly before re-placement back in the cooler, marking the order, and just in time, as required for best results!

I used a really big stem chopper a lot. It looked like this: 

Image result for stem cutterWatch the fingies, Amy!  No, I never got injured!

I really enjoyed this part-time job because I was working with live beauty, and I was continuing to follow my passion. You see, growing up in the 70’s, I  was a member of a garden club. I excelled in flower arranging, even entering fair contests and winning ribbons!  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!

Image result for cartoon winning ribbon

Where’d my show ribbons end up?

My job as as a flower arranger was short lived because my consulting business started getting busy and I could no longer take calls in the bathroom without feeling guilty. 

It was at this time in my life (by the way, the week before Valentine’s Day is very hectic at a flower shop…chop chop chop!), that I decided the only job I wanted to focus on was my own job as a consultant, which lead me to make a change for the better!  

In a nutshell, the decision was made to only have one boss from now on! And that’d be me. 

My plan for 2021 is to to continue to utilize my website for the purposes it was intended when I started it in the Spring of 2011, which is to write and share my talents!

Could your plan for 2021 include contacting me to help you help your client who is involved in litigation involving work?  You see I can also help you with a self employed client, because I understand what it takes to run a small business. 

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 to use my creative resources.  You’ll find I truly care about my work.

To discuss your case and how I might help, give me a call (515) 778-0634 or email amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   Again, thank you for reading. Maybe you could take some time today to stop by your nearest flower shop and splurge!!

_____________

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