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Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration Social Worker, Substance Abuse Treatment Program (SATP) in Portland, Oregon


The Social Worker, Substance Abuse Treatment Program (SATP), works within the Mental Health & Neurosciences Division at the VA Portland Health Care System in Portland, Oregon. The VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS) is a Complexity 1a Facility is a multi-site medical system that includes a major medical facility in Portland, Oregon, outpatient and residential facilities in Vancouver, Washington, and 10 CBOCs.


The Social Worker, Substance Abuse Treatment Program (SATP) will provide Mental Health services to the Veteran population enrolled at the VA Portland Health Care System. Clinical services include provision of high-quality case management, psychosocial assessment, psychotherapy, advocacy, and coordination of linkages to other appropriate VA or community service providers/agencies as needed by the Veteran. This is accomplished in collaboration with other members of the Mental Health Division or other interdisciplinary treatment teams as appropriate. Duties include, but are not limited to the following: Develops an assessment of the Veteran independently and/or in collaboration with the interdisciplinary treatment team, the Veteran, family members, and significant others. Provides goal planning, evaluation, and intervention with serious and complicated, highly diverse cases involving substance abuse and psychiatric illness. Demonstrates an understanding of current and advanced techniques to the treatment of this Veteran population related to their physical limitations, psychological needs, psychiatric conditions, environmental needs and age associated illnesses and conditions. Develops or contributes to the development of the mental health treatment plan and then setting achievable treatment goals with the Veteran/family and with the interdisciplinary treatment team. Completes documentation in compliance with appropriate documentation standards. Collaborate with other service providers in reassessing the Veteran's needs. Educates the Veteran and/or caregiver of the available services and assisting them with appropriate referrals based on the Veteran's preference or that of his surrogate decision-maker related to mental health issues, or the team's evaluation. Uses current social work resources and community social service programs and enhancing the content to the benefit of Veterans. Advocates when it serves the best interest of the Veteran/family. When appropriate and feasible, the social worker will educate and encourage the Veteran/family to advocate on their own behalf, thus fostering a sense of independence and empowerment. Experienced in making rapid assessments and developing crisis management plans for various types of crisis including housing and financial emergencies, psychiatric relapse, potential suicide and other high risk behaviors/situations. The social worker will assess for suicidality and self-harm and provide appropriate intervention including but not limited to safety planning. The social worker will assist with admission to mental health inpatient programs as needed. The social worker has access to multiple resource directories in addition to previously developed resources to meet the demands of a crisis. In the event of a medical or psychiatric emergency, staff will follow the protocol of the Mental Health Division at the VAPORHCS. Provides education related to VA and community resources, entitlements, Advance Directives/Living Wills and will refer Veterans/families to the appropriate interdisciplinary team member/VA provider for identified health education needs. Establish and maintain regular liaison with care providers to Veterans in local community agencies and facilities (hospitals, clinic, etc) for the purpose of coordinated care, when indicated. Educates the Veteran, the family and the team of all the options available to them and will collaborate with the Veteran and family on the preferred option. Provides Veterans with psychotherapy to treat psychiatric diagnoses and mental health symptoms. Provides comprehensive case management services. Participates in activities that obtain feedback from clients and work to enhance services as needed. Information added into the electronic record will be entered in a complete, confidential, and professional manner to insure information on the patient is shared with other VA staff using appropriate formats and templates. Attends staff meetings (interdisciplinary treatment team meetings, social work staff meetings, staff meetings, other committees as appropriate, etc.) and perform other administrative duties as required. Work Schedule: Monday - Friday, 8am to 4:30pm

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required


Conditions of Employment


Basic Requirements: United States 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. Verification of the degree can be made by going to to verify that the social work degree meets the accreditation standards for a masters of social work. Licensure - 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. English Language Proficiency - Candidates must be proficient in spoken and written English to be appointed as authorized by 38 U.S.C. ยง 7403(f). Grade Determinations

GS-9 Requirements: This is the entry level for social workers and is used for social workers with less than 1 year of post-MSW experience and for social workers who are not yet licensed or certified at the independent practice level.

(If enough applicants apply at the GS-11 level, it is possible that applicants who are only eligible at the GS-09 level will NOT be referred for this specific vacancy, as GS-11 with independent license is highly preferred.) Knowledge, Skills, 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. GS-11 Requirements: This is the full performance level for social workers. GS-11 Social Workers are licensed or certified to independently practice social work. They are assigned to all program areas, including inpatient or outpatient medicine, surgery, mental health, neurology, rehabilitation medicine, and geriatrics. Employees provide professional, independent social work services in the assigned area.

(This is the preferred level for this vacancy.) Knowledge, Skills, 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. References: VHA 5005, Appendix G39, Social Worker Qualification Standard.

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: Moderate lifting (15-44 pounds); Reaching above shoulder; Use of fingers; Both hands required; Walking (4 hours); Standing (4 hours); Climbing, legs only (0.5 hours); Both legs required; Ability for rapid mental and muscular coordinating simultaneously; Near vision correctable in one eye to 20/20 and to 20/40 in the other; Specific visual requirement (Far vision in one eye correctable to 20/50 and 20/100 in the other); Hearing (aid permitted); Mental & emotional stability required. Environmental Factors: Working closely with others; Working alone.


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: 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: Note: Only master's degree in social work from a school of social work fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Verification of the degree can be made by going to to verify that the social work degree meets the accreditation standards for a masters of social work.

Additional Information

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies. It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment. 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. Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members. If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.