Phoenix VAHCS

  • Phoenix, AZ, USA


Health Psychology (PCMHI) Psychologist



General Description:

The psychologist for whom this functional statement applies is assigned professionally to the Health Psychology Section of the Psychology Service of the Phoenix VA Health Care System, and will function as a full member of the Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI) Program. Within PCMHI, the psychologist will provide same day services to Veterans, including assessment and brief therapy as needed for psychological or medically related concerns. Specifically, the incumbent will assess, plan, implement, and collaborate on the health care needs of patients with endocrine-related conditions. The psychologist will assist the Program Leader in providing guidance to other Telehealth program team members and provide cross coverage as needed. The Psychologist  will provide comprehensive telehealth visits via clinical video telehealth (CVT) and VA Video Connect (VVC) to patients are distant VA and non-VA sites. This position requires knowledge of evidence-based psychotherapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression (CBT-D) and/or insomnia (CBT-I), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), or Problem-Solving Therapy (PST), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression (IPT). Training in mental health treatments in patients with diabetes is also beneficial. The psychologist may also be asked to conduct Health Psychology duties including Medical Psychology Consult management, individual therapy for health-related concerns for Veterans located in rural settings and working with the Rural Diabetes telehealth team. They will also work closely with and participate in interdisciplinary team meetings and staffing cases with the rural diabetes treatment team. This position may include a flexible work schedule, including early evening hours and weekend duties. In addition to providing direct patient care, this psychologist communicates and coordinates with the Psychology Service Chief, Health Psychology Program Manager, and the PCMHI Program Manager, to plan the implementation of services to meet the most significant behavioral health care needs of the Veteran population served.


As a Staff Psychologist, the incumbent diagnoses mental disorders, conducts psychological assessments, treats mental disorders through a variety of modalities, and provides adjunctive interventions for treatment of medical disorders, especially endocrine related disorders. Among the modalities that may be provided are individual, family, and group psychotherapies. Telehealth may be utilized within VACO and medical center policies, depending on the privileges of the psychologist. The incumbent consults with medical center staff on a wide variety of patient care issues and may be involved in program evaluation and/or research activities. The incumbent also interacts and works with clinicians from other Services as a member of a multidisciplinary treatment team. The incumbent is skillful in interpersonal relationships, including conflict resolution and the ability to work collaboratively with staff from other professions.


This position may include a flexible work schedule, including early evening hours and week-end duties. In addition to providing direct patient care, this psychologist communicates and coordinates with the Psychology Service Chief and Section Chiefs, and the Health Psychology Program Manager, to plan the implementation of services to meet the most significant behavioral health care needs of the Veteran population served.

  2. Qualifications:
  3. Doctoral Degree. Must 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.
  4. Internship. Must 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. 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’s Office of Academic Affiliations.
  5. Licensure. Must 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. Non-licensed applicants who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements may be given a temporary appointment as a “graduate psychologist” at the GS-11 or GS-12 grade under the authority of 38 U.S.C. § 7405 (a)(1)(D) for a period not to exceed two years from the date of employment on the condition that such a psychologist provide care only under the supervision of a psychologist who is licensed. Failure to obtain licensure during that period is justification for termination of the temporary appointment.
  6. Experience. A GS-11 Staff Psychologist is entry level, with no experience beyond basic requirements. A GS-12 Staff Psychologist has at least 1 years of experience as a professional psychologist equivalent to the next lower grade (GS-11), although must practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist if one is unlicensed. A GS-13 Staff Psychologist is at the full performance level, and has at least 2 years of experience as a professional psychologist with at least one-year equivalent to the GS- 12 level.


  1. Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
  2. GS-13 (Full Performance Level):
  3. Knowledge of and ability to apply a wide range of professional psychological treatments or assessment methods to a variety of patient populations.
  4. Ability to design and implement effective treatment strategies.
  5. Ability to incorporate new clinical procedures.
  6. Ability to conduct research activities, such as designing and implementing clinical research projects (staff psychologists with specified research job duties).
  7. 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.
  8. Knowledge of, and ability to apply, professional treatments to the full range of patient populations.
  9. Ability to provide professional advance and consultation in areas related to professional psychology and behavioral health.
  10. Knowledge of clinical research literature.


  1. Essential Clinical Responsibilities (100% of time) a. Provides a full range of psychological assessment services and diagnoses mental disorders, particularly for complex or unusually difficult patients with psychiatric disorders, including use of the Behavioral Health Lab (BHL) software.
  2. Provides education to patients, family members, and significant others.
  3. Provides comprehensive, evidence-based psychotherapeutic (EBP) interventions. For the positions within the Primary Care setting, the psychologist will provide brief assessment for a range of mood disorders and medical conditions, brief individual therapy, and brief group therapy, using protocols such as Problem-Solving Therapy and Motivational Interviewing, in line with the Primary Care-Mental Health Integration Initiative.
  4. Responds to Same Day referrals from Primary Care clinicians with brief assessment, referral or treatment options. Provides LIP support as part of interdisciplinary PCMHI/ Health Psychology team.
  5. Provides consultation to professional staff within Phoenix VAHCS as part of integrated care PACT teams, and to community providers, concerning clinical assessment findings and appropriate treatment plans for patients.
  6. Develops, implements, and documents the psychotherapeutic treatment plan for an assigned caseload of patients, including prompt completion of clinical reminders.
  7. Facilitates liaisons with other health care programs to effectively coordinate services.
  8. Complies with national and local performance measures, including timely health care screening and completion of clinical reminders for all patients.
  9. Complies with all CPRS documentation procedures, including timeliness standards for documentation and proper patient check out procedures (e.g., entering diagnostic and procedure codes).
  10. Attends and participates in administrative and informational meetings held by the Mental Health services.
  11. Attends relevant Psychology Service and MH&BSS meetings and complies with quality review procedures.
  12. Assists the Health Psychology Program Manager in the design, development, and implementation of clinical programs.
  13. Adheres to operational policies and procedures for health care as directed by the Medical Center and Psychology Service Management.
  14. Completes risk assessment and evaluates for appropriate level of care.






  1. Academic/Teaching/Training (0% of time)
  2. May support the Psychology Service Internship and Fellowship training programs
  3. May serve an academic appointment


  1. Research/Program Evaluation (0% of time) 1. May plan and oversee the completion of personal research programs designed to provide information regarding program planning and relevant treatment approaches. Research is to be discussed with the Psychology Service, and approved by the VA IRB.
  2. May present outcome data and research results at VA and regional or national scientific or professional meetings.
  3. May assist in preparation of RFP’s and grant proposals.


  1. Assists the Health Psychology Program Manager in the execution of ongoing program evaluation and data-driven quality improvement projects to monitor the effectiveness of the clinical program.
  2. May oversee the establishment of program monitors and outcome and other local data source measurements if/when these become required for clinical performance and other outcome assessment or best practices guidelines, using a data-driven quality assurance process.
  3. May monitor and establish procedures to contribute to the improvement of population preventive health outcomes for primary care and/or mental health patients.


  1. Other Significant Responsibilities (0% of time) 1. May serve on Mental Health, facility, VISN, or VACO committees, as requested by the Health Psychology Program Manager or Psychology Service Chief.
  2. May represent the PVAHCS at professional/program community group/events and committees as requested by the Health Psychology Program Manager or Psychology Service Chief.
  3. May represent Psychology Service on decision-making committees in the Health Care System as requested by the Health Psychology Program Manager or Psychology Service Chief.
  4. May participate in leadership roles in local, state, and national professional organizations.




At the GS-13 level, the psychologist exercises independent judgment in the practice and provision of psychological services (clinical care, consultation, and education). S/he consults with peers, his/her first line supervisor, and the Chief, Psychology Service, as needed. S/he reports to the Health Psychology Program Manager as the first line supervisor. The Chief, Psychology Service acts as the professional supervising official for the psychologist, to ensure adherence to professional standards of the practice of psychology.




See VA Handbook 5005/87, Part II, Appendix G-18 (dated 6 June 2016).



Meets the needs of customers while supporting the Medical Center and Service missions. Consistently communicates and treats customers (patients, visitors, volunteers, and all Medical Center staff) in a courteous, tactful, and respectful manner. Provides the customer with consistent information according to established policies and procedures. Handles conflict and problems in dealing with the customer constructively and appropriately.




The focus of this position is on the provision of psychological services to Veterans enrolled at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. These Veterans are typically between 18 and 70 years of age. This position requires the incumbent to possess or develop an understanding of the particular needs of these types of patients. Sensitivity to the special needs of all patients in respect to age, developmental requirements, and culturally related factors must be consistently achieved.




Protects printed and electronic files containing sensitive data in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 and other applicable laws, Federal regulations, VA statutes and policy, and VHA policy. Protects the data from unauthorized release or from loss, alteration, or unauthorized deletion. Follows applicable regulations and instructions regarding access to computerized files, release of access codes, etc. Uses word processing software to execute several office automation functions such as storing and retrieving electronic documents and files; activating printers; inserting and deleting text; formatting letters, reports, and memoranda; and transmitting and receiving e-mail. Uses the Veterans Health Information and Technology Architecture (VistA) to access information in the Medical Center computer system.

Supervisor Signature:  Date:  3/26/2020

Jenna Gress-Smith, Ph.D.