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Clinical Psychologist (Home Based Primary Care)

Company: Department of Veterans Affairs
Location: Altoona
Posted on: June 5, 2021

Job Description:

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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

Learn more about this agency


The incumbent provides a full range of psychological services for Veterans referred to or enrolled in the HBPC Program, to include mental health prevention, assessment, treatment, management, and professional consultation. Specific duties include:

  • Providing screening for emotional-behavioral problems to prevent psychological problems and/or diagnose such problems per the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM5) criteria;
  • Providing behavioral medicine interventions to manage physical pain and other disabilities, to address sleep problems and promote positive sleep practices, to facilitate weight loss and good nutritional habits, to cease smoking, and/or to reinforce or enhance medical compliance;
  • Providing treatment for such psychological problems as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and substance abuse, with an emphasis on time-limited, evidenced-based approaches when possible and appropriate;
  • Developing behavior management/modification plans and strategies to address dementia-related behaviors and other cognitive impairments to decrease the need for adjunct psychotropic medication for behavioral control;
  • Providing psychoeducation, counseling, and other supportive measures to the spouse and other family members, home health aides and other caregivers, and/or other VA and non-VA staff crucial to keeping the Veteran at home;
  • Providing screening for cognitive deficits to address specific functional questions and/or to determine if more comprehensive neuropsychological testing is needed;
  • Assessing the Veteran's understanding of advanced directives and other forms of consent, and assisting HBPC and other staff in determining how to explain and present treatment options and other such material in a form that they can understand;
  • Performing capacity/competency evaluations to address the Veteran's ability to care for personal needs and meet other instrumental activities of daily living, to make medical and financial decisions, to safely and effectively operate a motor vehicle, and/or to continue to reside independently with or without assistance from others
  • Facilitating transition and adjustment to new living situations when necessary, to include assisted living and skilled nursing facilities;
  • Provides consultation and facilitates open communication between other HBPC staff members, other VA staff, and non-VA community providers to review and discuss assessment findings, treatment recommendations and plans, and other pertinent information to ensure continuity of care;
  • Functions independently as a licensed psychologist and member of the HBPC Program, assumes professional responsibility for clinical assessment findings and patient care decisions, and documents all findings, to include the prompt completion of clinical reminders.

Administrative responsibilities

The incumbent provides various administrative and other assigned duties, to include the following:

A. Assists the Chief of Mental Health and HBPC Program Director in the design, development, and implementation of clinical programs designed to meet HBPC staff psychologist mission requirements;

B. Adheres to operational policies and procedures established by the Chief of Mental Health and HBPC Program Director;

  • Assists the Chief of Mental Health and HBPC Program Director in the execution of ongoing program evaluation and data-driven quality improvement projects to monitor the effectiveness of the HBPC psychologist service and other HBPC Program and Mental Health Service components;
  • Facilitates liaisons with other health care programs in order to effectively coordinate services;
  • Complies with national and local performance measures, including timely health care screening and completion of clinical reminders for all patients;
  • Complies with all CPRS documentation procedures, including timeliness standards for documentation and proper patient check out procedures, to include entering diagnostic and procedure codes;
  • Meets all continuing education requirements in a timely manner to maintain licensure as a psychologist;
  • As needed, provides appropriate assistance and supervision of other staff members, psychology students and trainees, and psychologists eligible for licensure within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Work Schedule: Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


  • Job family (Series)

0180 Psychology

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  • Requirements



Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
  • Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period
  • Subject to a background/security investigation
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process


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:

  • United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.
  • Education

(1) Have a doctoral degree in psychology from a graduate program in psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) at the time the program was completed. The specialty area of the degree must be consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. For the purpose of meeting this requirement, the term "specialty area" refers to the specific specialty areas recognized by the accrediting body and not to specific job duties that might require special skills. Currently, APA accredits doctoral programs in the specialty areas of clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, or combinations of two or more of those areas. PCSAS accredits doctoral programs in psychological clinical science. CPA accredits doctoral programs in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, clinical neuropsychology, and school psychology. There are no job assignments in VHA that require the skills of a school psychologist; therefore, an applicant with a degree in the specialty area of school psychology is not eligible for appointment. Strictly for the purpose of determining eligibility for appointment as a psychologist in VHA, there is no distinction between the specialty areas (with the exception of school psychology).


(2) Have a doctoral degree in any area of psychology and, in addition, successfully complete a re-specialization program (including documentation of an approved internship completed as part of the re-specialization program) meeting both of the following conditions:


(3) Have a doctoral degree awarded between 1951 and 1978 from a regionally-accredited institution, with a dissertation primarily psychological in nature.]


(4) Internships

(a) Have successfully completed a professional psychology internship training program that was accredited by APA or CPA at the time the program was completed and that is consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed.


(b) New VHA psychology internship programs that are in the process of applying for APA accreditation are acceptable in fulfillment of the internship requirement, provided that such programs were sanctioned by the VHA Central Office Program Director for Psychology and the VHA Office of Academic Affiliations at the time that the individual was an intern;


(c) VHA facilities that offered full-time, one-year pre-doctoral internships prior to PL 96-151 (pre-1979) are considered to be acceptable in fulfillment of the internship requirement;


(d) Applicants who completed an internship that was not accredited by APA or CPA at the time the program was completed may be considered eligible for hire only if they are currently board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology in a specialty area that is consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. (NOTE: Once board certified, the employee is required to maintain board certification.)


(e) Applicants who have a doctoral degree awarded between 1951 and 1978 from a regionally-accredited institution with a dissertation primarily psychological in nature may fulfill this internship requirement by having the equivalent of a one-year supervised internship experience in a site specifically acceptable to the candidate's doctoral program. If the internship experience is not noted on the applicant's official transcript, the applicant must provide a statement from the doctoral program verifying that the equivalent of a one-year supervised internship experience was completed in a site acceptable to the doctoral program.

  • Licensure. Hold a full, current, and unrestricted license to practice psychology at the doctoral level in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia.
  • Board Certification and Loss of Credential
  • (1) Board Certification. Persons hired to psychology positions in the VHA who completed an internship that was not accredited at the time the program was completed must be board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology in a specialty area that is consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. The board certificate must be current and the applicant must abide by the certifying body's requirement for continuing education.
  • Pre-employment physical and drug testing is required.
  • English Language Proficiency. Psychologists must be proficient in spoken and written English

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).

Grade Determinations: Staff Psychologist, GS-11 (Entry Level)

(a) Experience. None beyond the basic requirements.

Staff Psychologist, GS-12 (Developmental Level)

(a) Experience. At least one year of experience as a professional psychologist equivalent to the next lower grade level (GS-11). Psychologists who are not licensed must practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist but with less intense supervision than at the GS-11 grade level.

(b) Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs:

  1. Knowledge of and ability to apply a wide range of professional psychological treatments or assessment methods to a variety of patient populations.

  2. Ability to design and implement effective treatment strategies.

  3. Ability to incorporate new clinical procedures.

  4. Ability to conduct research activities, such as designing and implementing clinical research projects (staff psychologists with specified research job duties).

  5. Ability to perform basic research tasks of scholarship and research execution within the context of an established research team, including research participant relations, research documentation, data acquisition, maintenance, and collaboration.

Staff Psychologist, GS-13 (Full Performance, Level)

(a) Experience. At least two years of experience as a professional psychologist, with at least one year equivalent to the GS-12 grade level.

(b) Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs:

  1. Knowledge of, and ability to apply, professional psychological treatments to the full range of patient populations.

  2. Ability to provide professional advice and consultation in areas related to professional psychology and behavioral health.

  3. Knowledge of clinical research literature.

References: VA Handbook 5005/103, Part II, Appendix G18 dated February 7, 2018.

The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-13. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-11 to GS-13.

Physical Requirements: pre-employment physical and drug testing required.


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:

Keywords: Department of Veterans Affairs, Altoona , Clinical Psychologist (Home Based Primary Care), Other , Altoona, Pennsylvania

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