Social Worker Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT)

US Department of Veterans Affairs
Job LocationUS
Job TagEarly Career

Description:

Location: Manchester, NH -with potential telehealth opportunities

The Homeless Patient-Aligned Care Team (HPACT) Social Worker, located at the Manchester VA Medical Center, works with the other members of the multidisciplinary PACT, performing outreach in the Manchester VAMC catchment area to identify Veterans who are homeless or marginally housed, with the goal of engaging them in primary care.

Responsibilities:

The incumbent provides Veterans with a range of social work services, including assessment and referrals, clinical treatment, short-term case management, advocacy and service coordination, and linkage with VA and community services. The incumbent possesses knowledge of the needs of the homeless population.

  • Screening/Assessment – The social worker will develop a bio/psycho/social assessment of the Veteran in collaboration with the interdisciplinary treatment team, the Veteran, available family members and significant others. The goal of the assessment is to highlight the Veteran’s strengths, limitations, and internal/external supports and service. needs in order to optimize the Veteran’s functional status. The incumbent demonstrates an understanding of the range of treatment and needs for all homeless adult Veterans, including OIF/OEF/OND, geriatric, and gender-specific Veterans related to their physical limitations, psychological needs and age-associated mental health, substance abuse issues and physical conditions. The incumbent must have an understanding of the problems of homelessness and respect for the diversity of the homeless Veteran population, being sensitive to human growth and development, age-appropriate needs and concerns of the homeless veteran, and must be able to provide independent treatment of this Veteran population.
  • Goal Setting- The social worker completes an initial assessment intake and plan of care, including short-term goals, long-term goals, referral plans and Veteran strengths and includes specific history (mental health, substance abuse, medical, financial, family, sexual, community/culture, legal and housing). The social worker coordinates community services and involves the VA primary care provider and VA mental health providers as needed.
  • Referral to service providers – The incumbent social worker is the subject matter expert on VA and/or community resources for the HPACT. The social worker will collaborate with other service providers in assessing the Veteran’s needs. The social worker is responsible for educating the Veteran on the available services and assisting him/her in establishing the appropriate referrals based on his/her preference and what is available in the community and assisting the Veteran in accessing those resources.
  • Advocacy – The social worker understands bureaucracy and will act as an advocate when it serves the best interest of the homeless Veteran. When it is appropriate and feasible, the incumbent will educate and encourage the homeless Veteran to advocate on his/her own behalf, thus fostering a sense of independence and empowerment.
  • Community Planning – The social worker coordinates community planning with the homeless Veteran. This can include arranging meetings with the Veteran and the community supports/providers for needed services.

Qualifications:

  • Work Schedule:
  • Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm
    Telework Availability: Adhoc, only as needed
    Functional Statement #:F02720,F02719
    EDRP Authorized: Contact Kurt.Mackey@va.gov, the EDRP Coordinator for questions/assistance
    Requirements
    Conditions of Employment
    You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job.
    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
    Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met.

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:

a. Citizenship. Be a citizen of the United States.

b. 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.

c. 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/.
Exception. VHA may waive the licensure or certification requirement for persons who are otherwise qualified, pending completion of state prerequisites for licensure/certification examinations. This exception only applies at the GS-9 grade level. For the GS-11 grade level and above, the candidate must be licensed or certified. At the time of appointment, the supervisor, chief social work or social work executive will provide the unlicensed/uncertified social worker with the written requirements for licensure or certification, including the time by which the license or certification must be obtained and the consequences for not becoming licensed or certified by the deadline.]
(a) For appointments at the GS-9 grade level, VHA social workers who are not licensed or certified at the time of appointment must become licensed or certified at the independent, master’s level within three years of their appointment as a social worker. Most states require two years of post-MSW experience as a prerequisite to taking the licensure/certification exam, and VHA gives social workers one additional year to pass the licensure/certification exam. In states such as California, Washington, and others where the prerequisites for licensure exceed two years, social workers must become licensed at the independent, master’s level within one year of meeting the full state prerequisites for licensure.
(b) A social worker who does not yet have a license that allows independent practice must be supervised by a licensed independent practitioner of the same discipline who is a VA staff member and who has access to the electronic health record.
(c) Different states have different levels of licensure or certification, making it difficult for VHA staff to determine the independent practice level. Each state, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia completed surveys identifying the level of licensure or certification allowing independent practice. Copies of the surveys are on file in the VHA Office of Care Management and Social Work Services, and a summary spreadsheet of the levels of licensure or certification is available to social work professional standards board members for purposes of determining whether the social worker’s level of licensure or certification meets the VHA qualification standards. All states except California use a series of licensure exams administered by the ASWB. Information can be found at https://www.aswb.org/. The ASWB is the association of boards that regulates social work. ASWB develops and maintains the social work licensing examination used across the country and is a central resource for information on the legal regulation of social work. The ASWB offers three examinations. The master’s examination is generally used by states for the independent practice level of licensure or certification, while the advanced generalist and the clinical examinations are used for the advanced practice level of licensure or certification. Differences between the master’s and the advanced exams demonstrate the expectation that advanced practice social workers will have a more sophisticated knowledge of practice theory and its application.
(2) Failure to Obtain License or Certification. In all cases, social workers must actively pursue meeting state prerequisites for licensure or certification starting from the date of their appointment. Failure to become licensed or certified within the prescribed amount of time will result in removal from the GS-0185 social worker series and may result in termination of employment.
(3) Loss of Licensure or Certification. Once licensed or certified, social workers must maintain a full, valid, and unrestricted independent license or certification to remain qualified for employment. Loss of licensure or certification will result in removal from the GS-0185 social worker series and may result in termination of employment.

d. English Language Proficiency. Candidates must be proficient in spoken and written English to be appointed as authorized by 38 U.S.C. § 7403(f).

GRADE DETERMINATIONS. In addition to the basic requirements for employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates.
Social Worker GS-09

Experience/Education. Experience, Education, and Licensure. None beyond the basic requirements.
Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs:
(a) Ability to work with Veterans and family members from various socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, educational, and other diversified backgrounds utilizing counseling skills.
(b) Ability to assess the psychosocial functioning and needs of Veterans and their family members, and to formulate and implement a treatment plan, identifying the Veterans problems, strengths, weaknesses, coping skills, and assistance needed.
(c) Ability to implement treatment modalities in working with individuals, families, and groups to achieve treatment goals. This requires judgment and skill in utilizing supportive, problem solving, or crisis intervention techniques.
(d) Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and communicate with clients, staff, and representatives of community agencies.
(e) Fundamental knowledge of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities, and treatment procedures. This includes acute, chronic, and traumatic illnesses/injuries; common medications and their effects/side effects; and medical terminology.

Assignments [Entry Level] Individuals assigned as GS-9 grade level social workers are considered to be at the entry level and are closely supervised, as they are not yet functioning at the independent practice level conferred by independent licensure or certification. Social workers at the GS-9 entry level are typically assigned to program areas that do not require specialized knowledge or experience. Duties may include but are not limited to: providing social work case management; acting as an advocate with appropriate VA and community service providers/agencies when it serves the best interest of the Veteran and family members/caregiver. Since social workers at this level are not practicing at an independent level, they should not be assigned to program areas where independent practice is required, such as in a CBOC, unless there is a licensed social worker in the program area who can provide supervision for practice. GS-9 social workers provide psychosocial services in the assigned area under supervision.

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.


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