Medical Support Assistant

Washington, D.C
Oct 14, 2020
Oct 21, 2020
Full Time


The incumbent serves as a Medical Support Assistant assigned to the Business Office. The incumbent's work impacts the administrative aspect of patient care, including access, scheduling/coordinating appointments using advanced clinic access principles, collecting and updating demographic and insurance information, patient processing, scheduling Recall Reminders, return to clinic orders, and customer service.
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  • The MSA works collaboratively in an interdisciplinary coordinated care delivery model and performs receptionist duties, customer service and other duties assigned for the proper and timely treatment of patients and maintains appointment schedules for one or more outpatient clinics. These duties may also be provided by phone.
  • He/she must assist with clinic access contingency plans by adjusting appointment times, location, or dates as well as shift patients to other healthcare providers as conflict with staffing and/or coverage occurs. Incumbent must screen/receive phone calls in a courteous and timely manner, determine the nature of requests and provide the information desired using privacy rules and established clinic processes.
  • A caring, compassionate and sensitive manner is essential when explaining procedures to veterans and their family members both in person and on the phone.
  • The MSA is able to independently manage position responsibilities with little supervision as well as set priorities and deadlines adjusting the flow and sequencing of the work to meet team and patient needs.
  • The MSA participates in daily huddles and weekly team meetings where patient care planning and management occur, except during staff shortages for coverage.
  • Notifies his/her supervisor when clinic access is less than desirable or if an individual patient cannot be scheduled within mandated clinic timeframes.
  • He/she daily reviews active/pending consults, Recall list and Audiocare communications for accuracy and disposition.
  • Incumbent coordinates administrative services for veterans, family members, caregivers, and general public, administrative and clinical staff to ensure continuity of inpatient and outpatient care.
  • When records are received, the incumbent will ensure that all necessary health/administrative information are integrated into Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) by scanning documents into the HER (CPRS) via Vista Capture.
  • Incumbent develops and maintains effective working relationships with all clinical and administrative staff in determining priorities of activities in support of direct patient care.
  • Interprets and applies a complex body of pertinent laws, regulations, directives, and policies that relate to the administration of VA Healthcare Benefits.
  • The ability to distribute and balance the workload among employees in accordance with established workflow or job specialization, assures timely accomplishment of the assigned workload and assures that each employee has enough work to keep busy. Responsible for completion of personnel reports, rosters, and maintenance of supplies and forms.
  • This position requires frequent changes to VHA directives, regulations and local policies and constant coordination to ensure compliance and standardization associated with Advanced Clinic Access principles.
  • He she conducts special audits, studies, or surveys to be utilized in the development of procedures, and to assist employees in collecting complete and appropriate data for reporting processes and for generating revenue.
  • Generates patient workload reports for validation and monitors activity in clinical areas to assure consistent and accurate reporting. Organizes and implements quality assurance monitors; prepares a wide variety of administrative reports and documents for supervisor. Conducts patient/employee surveys, interviews, observes workflow; guides patients through hospital system, inputs referrals, documents complaints, and provides follow-up and suggests resolutions to supervisor. Incumbent must be able to interpret and communicate requirements of VHA Scheduling Directives and complete accurate scheduling responsibilities.
  • Schedules appointments and utilize return to clinic orders and recall reminders are scheduled accurately and in a timely manner. All appointments will be made with the patient's input, either in person or by phone. This may require a high level of coordination to avoid patients having to make multiple trips to the medical center or clinic whenever possible.
  • The MSA may also be asked to assist in processing Veterans travel payment vouchers for the beneficiary travel program. Additional duties or tasks may be assigned by the supervisor to ensure efficient daily operations.
  • Incumbent intervenes to resolve difficult problems and diffuses potential dissatisfaction with VA services in order to prevent congressional and adverse publicity.
  • Serves as technical advisor and liaison with contacts at all levels. Incumbent must completely understand and be able to explain complex regulations and eligibility criteria concerning veterans' entitlements and VA benefits, priorities for care, access to care and advanced clinic access.

Work Schedule: Shift Work; Tour of Duty: 7:30am - 4:00pm, 8:00am - 4:30pm, 3:30pm - 12:00am, 11:30pm - 8:00am
Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


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.
  • Experience and Education .
      Experience. Six months experience of clerical, office, [customer service], or other [administrative] work that indicates the ability to acquire the particular knowledge and skills needed to perform the duties of the position; OR, Education. One year above high school; OR, Experience/Education Combination. Equivalent combination of experience and education are qualifying for entry level for which both education and experience are acceptable.
  • Certification. None required.
  • Physical Requirements: See VA Directive and Handbook 5019.
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).

Grade Determinations: In addition to the basic requirements for employment listed in basic requirements, above, the following education and experience criteria must be met:

(1) Medical Support Assistant, GS-3
(a) Experience or Education. None beyond the basic requirements.
(b) Assignment. This is an entry level MSA position. It is expected that MSAs at this level receive guidance from more experienced staff members and require frequent and direct supervision. At this level, MSAs apply general rules and policies relating to clinic functions, staff, and automated data processing methods in support of treatment to patients. They utilize a variety of patient data systems in scheduling patients for treatment and annotates patient records. They perform front desk duties, receives telephone call, and visitors to the MSA unit, cancel appointments, review patient records for, and review patient demographics and insurance verification. Consult with clinic staff when processing physician scheduling and administrative orders.

Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities [KSAs ] Candidates must demonstrate all of the KSAs below:
i. Ability to meet, communicate, and interact with individuals in a courteous and helpful manner in order to give instructions and arrange appointments.
ii. Ability to utilize computer systems to enter administrative data in patient systems.
iii. Ability to learn and utilize basic medical terminology to record patient messages and physician requests pertaining to follow-up medical care.

(2) Medical Support Assistant, GS-4:
(a) Experience. One year of experience in clerical, office, [customer service, or other administrative] work that indicates the ability to acquire the particular knowledge and skills needed to perform the duties of the position;
(b) Education. Two years of education above high school.
(c) Assignment. This is a developmental level MSA position. It is expected that MSA at this level receive minor and less frequent guidance from higher experienced staff members for more difficult tasks. Assignments at this level include, but are not limited to: scheduling and rescheduling patients for treatment; interviewing patients for appointments; referring patients to other medical specialty clinics; providing information to patients necessary to resolve complaints; interacting with both internal and external customers; reviewing and documenting medical outpatient and inpatient [electronic health records], as well as administrative records; verifying third party insurance and updating information in the Insurance Capture Buffer (ICB) system; obtaining medical information from patients; coordinating information and actions related to patient care and services; and scheduling appointments in accordance with VHA national scheduling guidelines. MSAs at this level refer all questions regarding medical attention to the appropriate health care team member.

Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: Candidates must demonstrate all of the KSAs below:
i. Ability to meet, communicate, and interact with individuals from varying backgrounds and other health care team members in a courteous and helpful manner in order to facilitate medical care for patients.
ii. Ability to use, and navigate between, various types of office automation equipment and software (i.e. computer systems, web based scheduling programs; insurance collection system; scanning software, multiple line phone systems; electronic faxing programs to support patient care.
iii. Knowledge of basic medical terminology to assist in the provision of care to patients.
iv. Skill in recording patient messages and understanding physician requests pertaining to follow-up medical care in internal or external clinics.

(3) Medical Support Assistant, GS-5
a) Experience: One year of experience equivalent to the GS-4 grade level; OR,
b) Education: Four years of education above high school.
c) Assignment: This is the full performance level for MSAs. At this level, the MSA independently performs a full range of duties related to the delivery of healthcare services in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Advises clinical staff on current administrative processes. The MSA is responsible for answering phones, greeting patients, relaying messages to appropriate staff inside or outside of the unit, scheduling appointments, including interpreting and verifying provider orders in accordance with VHA national scheduling guidelines. Assignments at this level include, but are not limited to: scheduling, canceling, re-scheduling patient]appointments and/or consults; entering no-show information; monitoring appointment requests from multiple electronic sources; etc...

Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities . Candidates must demonstrate [all of] the KSAs below:
i. Ability to operate computerized programs and systems in order to enter, modify, and retrieve sensitive medical and patient identifying information (PII) into or from electronic health records, scheduling systems, and/or reports.
ii. Advanced knowledge of medical terminology specific to understand medical diagnosis and procedures sufficient to communicate clinical staff instructions to patients.
iii. Ability to schedule medical appointments in a clinical setting.
iv. Ability to work independently in the accomplishment of a wide variety of duties [performing patient support work.
v. Ability to communicate effectively and professionally [in person, electronically, and/or by telephone, with internal and external customers.
vi. Skill in customer service with the ability] to identify customer concerns, and refer to the appropriate staff, as necessary, to ensure a satisfactory resolution.

References: VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G45.

The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-05. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-03 to GS-05.

Physical Requirements: The work is mostly sedentary and is performed in an office setting with non direct contact with patients. On occasion the MSA will provide coverage in the Specialty Clinic areas in which he/she will perform duties in a clinic responsible for treating patients with a wide variety of medical problems. Normal safety precautions and practices are required for working in a healthcare environment. This position requires emotional ability to deal effectively with multi-tasking and high volume of patient flow. Other physical demands include reaching, bending, stretching, walking and carrying light loads of supplies.


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: .

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 .

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE. Your application, résumé, C.V., and/or supporting documentation will be verified. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect consideration for employment.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process

Required Documents

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

  • Application for Associated Health Occupations - VA Form 10-2850c
  • Resume
  • SF-50/ Notification of Personnel Action

VA Form 10-2850c Application for Associated Health Occupations can be found at: . Required at the time of application.

The following documents are accepted, and may be required if applicable to your eligibility and/or qualifications for this position. Please use this checklist to ensure you have included all documents required for your application, such as a copy of your transcript (if using education to qualify), SF-50's (current/former Federal employees), etc.

  • Cover Letter
  • Application for Associated Health Occupations - VA Form 10-2850c
  • Resume
  • SF-50/ Notification of Personnel Action
  • Transcript

Veterans' Preference: When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference for 5pt (TP), 10pt (CP/CPS/XP), or for Sole Survivor Preference (SSP) in the questionnaire. You must provide a legible copy of your DD214(s) which shows dates and character of service (honorable, general, etc.). If you are currently serving on active duty and expect to be released or discharged within 120 days you must submit documentation related to your active duty service which reflects the dates of service, character of service (honorable, general, etc.), and dates of impending separation. Additionally, disabled veterans and others eligible for 10-point preference (such as widows or mothers of eligible Veterans) must also submit an SF-15 "Application for 10 Point Veteran Preference" with required proof as stated on the form. Documentation is required to award preference. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit .

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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