Dear Friends,

I know I haven't spoken to some of you for a long time and I am hoping you all are faring well.  Currently, the Department of Labor under Director Linda Takayama have been having meetings to review the workers compensation system. The vocational rehabilitation counselors who are with the International Association of Rehab Professionals have met with the director and a direct quote from her was "What value do you have?"  She has made it clear that they would like to do away with the VR services.

Over the last 1 year and a half the services have come under attack making our clients having to attend many unnecessary hearings even though we have had the services reinstated.  However, the DCD Working Group meetings are to create legislation to take to the legislators in January 2017.

Most recently the working committee contacted Donald Kegler and myself to attend this coming meeting. There was another representative who cannot make this meeting.  We have informed the committee that we will be there.  We don’t know what their agenda is at this time but we are taking our talking points and any testimony from you and providing copies for each committee person. 

The next Working Group meeting is on 11/9/2016 at 1:30 in Rm 309 at the Legislature. The topic is Vocational Rehabilitation.

Shortly before each meeting, Vidinhar has been publishing Powerpoints at: http://labor.hawaii.gov/dcd/news/wc-working-group/

We need all of you to be there to make known "what value" vocational rehabilitation has had on your life.  The counselors are few (less than 20) and we are considered stake holders and our word definitely have fallen on "deaf ears". You all have been the direct benefactors of the service.  And if there was any time to say that it has helped you, NOW IS THE TIME. Even if they don’t allow people who are not on the committee to raise issues, your presence will speak “volumes” to the committee.

Please let me know if any of you can attend this meeting with the counselors.  Again it is on 11/9 at 1:30 p.m. at the capitol, Room 309.  

Look forward to hearing from you. 

Laurie H. Hamano M.Ed. CRC LMHC

Rehab Counselor

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