Overview

Summary

The Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) is a comprehensive team which delivers Primary Care services to Veteran patients in a longitudinal rather than episodic fashion and which has as its focus: prevention; health promotion; coordination and chronic disease management. The Social Worker in this Veteran-centric approach often functions as a Care Coordinator with a panel of Veterans to ensure that health care meets the needs, as defined by the Veteran.

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Duties

VA Careers – Social Work: https://youtube.com/embed/enRhz_ua_UU

Incumbent is a professional Social Worker assigned to one or more Primary Care- PACT teams. Incumbent may be assigned to the main facility or a Community Based Outpatient Clinic. Initial location assignment may change based on patient care needs and coverage demands. All Social Workers assigned to a Primary Care/Social Work Services may be asked to provide on-site coverage at another location secondary to staffing demands. For example, a Social Worker at the Fort McPherson Clinic may be asked to present to the main hospital for coverage purposes, or a Social Worker at the main hospital may be temporarily reassigned to a nearby CBOC.

The incumbent must use a high level of skill in assessing and treating the complicated psychosocial problems of Veterans and their families/significant others. Social Work responsibilities include the assessment of psychosocial problems that cause distress, often impacting the health condition and creating barriers to care. These stressors can include adjustment to the current medical condition, untreated or under-treated mental health or substance abuse condition, economic instability, legal problems, and inadequate housing and transportation. Referrals typically originate from any member of the interdisciplinary team, from Veterans and/or their families who call or walk-in for assistance and from community professionals. The incumbent must complete thorough assessments to determine the underlying causes of the presenting problem, the interpersonal and environmental factors impacting the problem, and its effect on the patient’s ability and desire to comply with the treatment recommendations by the multidisciplinary team. The Social Worker will help the Veteran and family to understand the contributing factors to the problem(s), will discuss with them the pros and cons of possible short term and long-term solutions, encouraging them to make positive and lasting changes to reduce stressors. The Social Worker will coordinate with VA staff and community agencies to assist in problem solving as needed. Case management with members of the outpatient interdisciplinary team is provided in order to coordinate a collaborative effort to meet the agreed upon goals for a Veteran’s treatment needs and include liaison with community professionals regarding needed services for Veterans and/or their families. Services include but are not limited to interventions to increase access to care, including transportation assistance and advanced directives, economic assistance, including assistance with medical bills, financial aid services and strategies to increase income (employment, vocational rehabilitation, VA benefits, disability), and/or reduce expenses, find the appropriate housing for the patient’s level of need (affordable independent housing, homeless shelters, group and family care homes, Veterans Homes, assisted living, nursing homes, respite care, hospice care) and order necessary services to assist with functional decline. The incumbent:

  • Is responsible for supporting the mission, policies, and procedures of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the appropriate Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN), and the facility.
  • Is willing to serve on committees, work groups, and task forces at the facility as deemed appropriate by the supervisor and Chief.
  • Is mindful of keeping their supervisor apprised of problems and recommended solutions to problems encountered in the incumbent’s area of responsibility.
  • Is responsible for furthering one’s own professional growth through continuing education and for ensuring continuing education appropriate to the area of assignment.
  • Is able to provide assistance with the orientation and learning of less experienced social workers and, if interested, to serve as a field instructor for graduate level social work students.

Work Schedule: Varies for each location

Compressed/Flexible:Varies for each location

Telework: Varies for each location

Virtual: This is not a virtual position.

Functional Statement #: 508-52409F

Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized

Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

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Requirements

Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job.
  • All applicants tentatively selected for VA employment in a testing designated position are subject to urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment. Applicants who refuse to be tested will be denied employment with VA.
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English.
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period.
  • Subject to background/security investigation.
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process.
  • Must pass pre-employment physical examination.
  • Participation in the seasonal influenza vaccination program is a requirement for all Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Personnel (HCP).
  • Participation in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program is a requirement for all Veterans Health Administration Health Care Personnel (HCP) – See “Additional Information” below for details.

Qualifications

Basic Requirements:

The basic requirements for employment as a VHA social worker are prescribed by statute in 38 U.S.C.

  • 7402(b)(9), as amended by section 205 of Public Law 106-419, enacted November 1, 2000. To qualify for appointment as a social worker in VHA, all applicants must meet the following:
  • Citizenship. Be a citizen of the United States. (Non-citizens may be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with chapter 3, section A, paragraph 3g this part).
  • Education. Have a master’s degree in social work from a school of social work fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Graduates of schools of social work that are in candidacy status do not meet this requirement until the School of Social Work is fully accredited. A doctoral degree in social work may not be substituted for the master’s degree in social work. Verification of the degree can be made by going to http://www.cswe.org/Accreditation to verify that the social work degree meets the accreditation standards for a masters of social work.
  • Licensure. Persons hired or reassigned to social worker positions in the GS-0185 series in VHA must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the master’s degree level. Current state requirements may be found by going to http://vaww.va.gov/OHRM/T38Hybrid/.

GRADE DETERMINATIONS. In addition to the basic requirements for employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates.

  • Experience/Education. The candidate must have at least two years of experience post advanced practice clinical licensure and should be in a specialized area of social work practice of which, one year must be equivalent to the GS-11 grade level. Senior social workers have experience that demonstrates possession of advanced practice skills and judgment. Senior social workers are experts in their specialized area of practice. Senior social workers may have certification or other post-masters training from a nationally recognized professional organization or university that includes a defined curriculum/course of study and internship or equivalent supervised professional experience in a specialty.
  • Licensure/Certification. Senior social workers must be licensed or certified by a state at the advanced practice level which included an advanced generalist or clinical examination, unless they are grandfathered by the state in which they are licensed to practice at the advanced practice level (except for licenses issued in California, which administers its own clinical examination for advanced practice) and they must be able to provide supervision for licensure.
  • Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience above, candidates must demonstrate all of the following KSAs:
  • Skill in a range of specialized interventions and treatment modalities used in specialty treatment programs or with special patient populations. This includes individual, group, and/or family counseling or psychotherapy and advanced level psychosocial and/or case management.
  • Ability to incorporate complex multiple causation in differential diagnosis and treatment within approved clinical privileges or scope of practice.
  • Knowledge in developing and implementing methods for measuring effectiveness of social work practice and services in the specialty area, utilizing outcome evaluations to improve treatment services and to design system changes.
  • Ability to provide specialized consultation to colleagues and students on the psychosocial treatment of patients in the service delivery area, as well as role modeling effective social work practice skills.
  • Ability to expand clinical knowledge in the social work profession, and to write policies, procedures, and/or practice guidelines pertaining to the service delivery area.
  • Assignments. For all assignments above the full performance level, the higher-level duties must consist of significant scope, complexity (difficulty), and variety and be performed by the incumbent at least 25% of the time. Senior social workers are licensed or certified to independently practice social work at an advanced level. Senior social workers typically practice in a major program area such as but not limited to: Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center or Polytrauma Network Site; a Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Center, or a national VHA referral center, such as a national Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or a national Transplant Center, or other program areas of equivalent scope and complexity. The senior social worker may be assigned administrative responsibility for clinical program development and is accountable for clinical program effectiveness and modification of service patterns. Assignments include clinical settings where they have limited access to onsite supervision such as CBOCs or satellite outpatient clinics. The senior social worker collaborates with the other members of the treatment team in the provision of comprehensive health care services to Veterans, ensures equity of access, service, and benefits to this population, ensures the care provided is of the highest quality. The senior social worker provides leadership, direction, orientation, coaching, in-service training, staff development, and continuing education programs for assigned social work staff. They serve on committees, work groups, and task forces at the facility, VISN and national level, or in the community as deemed appropriate by the supervisor, Social Work Executive or Chief of Social Work Services. This assignment is to be relatively few in number based on the size of the facility/service and applying sound position management. This assignment must represent substantial additional responsibility over and above that required at the full performance grade level and cannot be used as the full performance level of this occupation.

May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria).

References: VA Handbook 5005/120 Part II Appendix G39, Social Worker Qualification Standard dated September 10, 2019.

The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-12.

Physical Requirements: The work is primarily sedentary, although some slight physical effort may be required.

Education


IMPORTANT:
A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.

Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/. If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html.

Additional information

Receiving Service Credit or Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee. Selected applicants may qualify for credit toward annual leave accrual, based on prior work experience or military service experience. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status.

VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health-related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority.

Pursuant to VHA Directive 1193.01, VHA health care personnel (HCP) are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 subject to such accommodations as required by law (i.e., medical, religious or pregnancy). VHA HCPs do not include remote workers who only infrequently enter VHA locations. If selected, you will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination before your start date. The agency will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request a legally required accommodation from this requirement using the reasonable accommodation process.

If you are unable to apply online or need to fax a document you do not have in electronic form, view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.

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Atlanta VA Medical Center

1670 Clairmont Road

Decatur, GA 30033

US