This position is located at Altoona VAMC within the Mental Health Service Line. The social worker will serve as a Suicide Prevention Case Manager (SPCM). 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: Citizenship. Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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-9. No experience, education, or licensure beyond the basic requirements. The candidate must demonstrate all of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities: Ability to work with Veterans and family members from various socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, educational, and other diversified backgrounds utilizing counseling skills. 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. 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. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and communicate with clients, staff, and representatives of community agencies. 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. Social Worker, GS-11. Appointment to the GS-11 grade level requires completion of a minimum of one year of post-MSW experience equivalent to the GS-9 grade level in the field of health care or other social work-related settings, (VA or non-VA experience) and licensure or certification in a state at the independent practice level; OR, In addition to meeting basic requirements, a doctoral degree in social work from a school of social work may be substituted for the required one year of professional social work experience in a clinical setting. In addition to the experience, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities: Knowledge of community resources, how to make appropriate referrals to community and other governmental agencies for services, and ability to coordinate services. Skill in independently conducting psychosocial assessments and treatment interventions to a wide variety of individuals from various socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, educational and other diversified backgrounds. Knowledge of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities and treatment procedures (i.e. acute, chronic and traumatic illnesses/injuries, common medications and their effects/side effects, and medical terminology) to formulate a treatment plan. Skill in independently implementing different treatment modalities in working with individuals, families, and groups who are experiencing a variety of psychiatric, medical, and social problems to achieve treatment goals. Ability to provide consultation services to new social workers, social work graduate students, and other staff about the psychosocial needs of patients and the impact of psychosocial problems on health care and compliance with treatment. Preferred Experience: References: VA HANDBOOK 5005, PART II, APPENDIX G39 The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-11. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-09 to GS-11. Physical Requirements: The work requires sitting, bending, stooping and walking consistent with the delivery of services in the office, hospital and community. The position may entail lifting of no more than 25 pounds on an occasional basis. Whenever possible, carts and dollies will be utilized as an alternative to lifting. In carrying out responsibilities, operation of a motor vehicle with a valid driver's license is required. The social worker must meet the requirements to use a government vehicle in accordance with VHA directive 2008-020. It may be necessary for the social worker to travel throughout the Altoona VAMC catchment area where they conduct interviews with the Veterans, family members, representatives of community health, welfare and law enforcement agencies. ["The role of the Suicide Prevention Case Manager (SPCM) is to coordinate and monitor services for Veterans designated as high risk for suicide and act as the transitional coordinator of care for these patients. The determination of risk level is based on clinical evaluation and assessment of a Veteran by an appropriate behavioral health care provider. The social workers are responsible for coordinating the care of high-risk patients throughout the medical center and CBOC's and community agencies. The SPCM is also a subject matter expert on Suicide Prevention and the management of suicidal behaviors. The SPCM, in collaboration with the Suicide Prevention Coordinator (SPC) and the Community Engagement and Partnerships Coordinator (CEPC) will outreach to the local community agencies to include suicide prevention task forces. The SPCM also provides education and consultation to Staff and Veterans within the facility and the associated CBOCs as needed and/or requested. Major duties include, but are not limited to: Follow VACO and facility guidelines with regards to management of patients at high risk for suicide and utilize the 2-tier suicide risk assessment process to identify those at high risk for suicide. Be familiar with facility medical center policies and standards of practice as they relate to the management of suicidal behavior and follow facility procedures and guidelines outlined in established policy. Collaborate with inpatient treatment providers/practitioners to support appropriate discharge planning following recommendations for treatment of patients at high risk for suicide. Provides referrals to VA medical and mental health treatment and to other VA services including VA benefits, as well as community-based social services and other non-VA entitlement programs. Provide referrals or consults, or in some cases direct admission of a Veteran to other VA programs, including but not limited to, the Respite Program, Community Health Care Coordination Program, Hospice, Home Based Primary Care, Telehealth and Community Nursing Home Program. Consultant for information on negotiating the complex processes caregivers, Veterans and families encounter when interacting with government and community agencies. Provides crisis intervention services, seeking to address causation as well as presenting complaints. Follows Suicide Prevention protocols established by national and local policy. Manages suicidal behavior of patients in the Urgent Care Clinic. Conduct rapid assessments and develops crisis management plans to return Veterans to a state of homeostasis including maintaining Veteran in the home, admission to acute, psychiatric, or short term/long term placements. Collaborate with other members of the Suicide Prevention Team and Mental Health Specialty Social Work Supervisor to implement a strategic plan for outreaching to the community to promote the Public Health approach to suicide prevention. Assist in the provision of on-going training programs and staff/patient education during Suicide Awareness Week. Acts as an advocate on behalf of the Veteran when it serves the best interest of the Veteran/family. Educate and encourage the Veteran/family to advocate on their own behalf in order to promote a sense of independence and empowerment. Responsible for planning and carrying out the assignment, resolving most conflicts that arise, coordinating and communicating with others as necessary and interpreting policies to accomplish their work. Organizes work, sets priorities, meets multiple deadlines and evaluates assigned program areas. Respond to consults from the Veterans Crisis Line. Attends all required team, interdisciplinary, committee, and service level meetings; and, participates in the development and implementation of continuous performance improvement processes and complies with performance measures as required by the VA for their specific population and/or program. Documents all intervention in the medical record according to medical center and VA Central Office standards. Perform other duties as assigned. Work Schedule: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.\nCompressed/Flexible: Available\nTelework: Available\nVirtual: This is not a virtual/remote position.\nFunctional Statement #: 000000 / Social Worker\nRelocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized\nEDRP Authorized: This position is eligible for the Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP), a student loan payment reimbursement program. You must meet specific individual eligibility requirements in accordance with VHA policy and submit your EDRP application within four months of appointment. Approval, award amount (up to $200,000) and eligibility period (one to five years) are determined by the VHA Education Loan Repayment Services program office after complete review of the EDRP application. Learn more\nPermanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized\nFinancial Disclosure Report: Not required"]
Providing Health Care for Veterans: The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,255 health care facilities, including 170 medical centers and 1,074 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.