This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Medical Support Assistant (Various Areas)

Department:Department Of Veterans Affairs

Agency:Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration

Job Announcement Number:OB-13-SAC-968943-ALL-EXT

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$24,933.00 to $40,706.00 / Per Year


Thursday, October 10, 2013 to Monday, October 14, 2013




Full Time - Permanent


Few vacancies in the following location:
Birmingham, AL United StatesView Map


UNITED STATES CITIZENS. Will close by the closing date or when the first 50 applicants are received


Vacancy Identification Number (VIN): 968943 


This position will close at the closing date or when the first 50 applicants are received.  This announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.


This vacancy announcment will be used to fill Medical Support Assistant vacancies throughout the Birmingham VA Medical Center including but not limited to the following Services (areas): Pharmacy, Acute Care, Primary Care, Nuclear Medicine, Neurology, Physical Medicine, Radiology, Patient Care, Administrative Medicine, and Dental.


To fulfill President Lincoln's promise – "To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan" – by serving and honoring the men and women who are America's Veterans.  

Please read the entire announcement before beginning the application process to ensure you submit all the required documents.  All applicable forms must be complete and signed prior to uploading. 


NOTE:  If you apply for this position electronically (On-Line), you do not need to apply manually using the OPM Form 1203-FX (OPM-Occupational Questionnaire).  If you complete and fax the OPM Form 1203-FX to the designated fax number listed in this vacancy announcement, It will override your previous application you have already submitted electronically (On-Line).  Therefore, please apply for this position using one method only (i.e., apply electronically [On-Line] or apply manually using the OPM Form 1203-FX).  If you apply using both the electronic (On-Line) and manual (OPM FORM 1203-FX) methods, it will result in a duplicate processing error and you may lose consideration for this position.

The Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (BVAMC) is an integral part of the Medical community that provides acute, tertiary, medical, and surgical care to Veterans of Alabama.   The Medical Center provides care to a veteran population of 420,000 in Alabama and treats approximately 57,000 unique veterans annually.   The medical center serves as a referral center for this area with 138 operating beds with care provided in almost all medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties. Birmingham, AL is located in the heart of the Southeastern United States and is a progressive center for medical research, banking, music, technology, art, engineering, and higher education.

VA offers generous paid time off and a variety of predictable and flexible scheduling opportunities.  For more information on the Department of Veterans Affairs, go to


As a VA professional, your opportunities are endless. With many openings in the multiple functions of VA, you will have a wide range of opportunities at your fingertips. Not only is it the largest, most technologically advanced integrated health care system in the nation, but we also provide many other services to Veterans through the Benefits Administration and National Cemeteries.  

Special Employment Consideration:  VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply.


  • U. S. Citizenship
  • Must pass pre-employment examination
  • English Language Proficiency required
  • Background and-or Security Investigation required


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The Medical Support Assistant initiates and carries out a vast variety of advisory and technical duties providing telephone assistance, scheduling appointments, including interpreting and verifying provider orders in accordance with national scheduling guidelines.  These duties include, but are not limited to:


  • Caring for adults and elderly based upon age related needs.
  • Providing good customer service in all work activities. This includes actions such as:  treating all customers with courtesy and fairness, considering the impact of work decision on customers, and incorporating customer feedback in job and work modifications.
  • Analyzing prior clinic visit or referral note and ensures all test results are available as well as prepare orders for diagnostic test (such as lab, x-ray, or EKG) which the patient will have at the beginning or end of the visit.
  • Performing receptionist duties, customer services and other duties assigned for the proper and timely treatment of patients.
  • Maintaining appointment schedules for one or more outpatient clinics.
  • Assisting 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.
  • Attending clinical team meetings and participates in performance improvement activities to improve outcomes for patients.
  • Briefing clinical staff on any unusual or urgent test results that may be encountered.
  • Handling conflict and problems in dealing with customers constructively and appropriately.
  • Preparing necessary forms and confirms that pre-op workups for patients are completed.


TOUR OF DUTY: Varies.  (Some areas may require evenings, weekends, holidays, and/or rotating shifts).

SALARY DETERMINATION: Salary and grade based upon Experience and/or Education.  (To be determined by MSA Professional Standards Board prior to appointment).



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This position is in the Excepted Service.  Initial appointment to this position is subject to the recommendation of a Professional Standards Board (PSB) and approval by the Medical Center Director.  Grade and salary will be recommended by the board and is based on the personal qualifications of the candidate (i.e. education, certification, experience, etc.).  Note: The PSB can review and make recommendations above the GS-5 grade level based on the nature of the assignment and qualifications. 


  1. Citizen of the United States.
  2. Six months experience of clerical, office or other work that indicates the ability to acquire the particular knowledge and skills needed to perform the duties of the position; OR
  3. Education:  One year above high school; OR
  4. MSAs must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with VA Handbook 5005, part II, chapter 3, section A, paragraph 3j.


Creditable Experience:  Knowledge of Current MSA Practices. To be creditable, the experience must have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) associated with current MSA responsibilities.  Experience satisfying this requirement may be paid/non-paid employment as a MSA.

GS-3 MSA (Entry Level)

Experience or Education:  None beyond the basic requirements.

Assignment. This is an entry level MSA position. It is expected that MSAs receive guidance from more experienced staff members and require frequent and direct supervision.

GS-4 MSA (Developmental Level)

Experience or Education: One year of experience in clerical or office work that indicates the ability to acquire the particular knowledge and skills needed to perform the duties of the position or two years of education above high school. Examples of Specialized Experience consist of: progressively responsible clerical, office work interacting with both internal and external customers; establishing and maintaining medical or administrative records.

Assignment:  This is a developmental level MSA position. It is expected that MSAs receive guidance from more experienced staff members for more difficult tasks and require frequent and direct contact from the assigned lead and/or supervisor. Assignments at this level include but are not limited to: interacting with both internal and external customers; establishing and maintaining medical outpatient and inpatient charts 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. The MSA refers all questions requiring immediate medical attention to appropriate health care team member.

Candidates must demonstrate the KSAs below:  

  1. 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 complete job assignments.
  2. Ability to use various types of office automation equipment and software.
  3. Ability to set up, organize, and maintain record systems.

GS-5 MSA (Full Performance Level)

Experience or Education:  One year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade level or 4 years of education above high school. Examples of Specialized experience consist of: working in a medical office, hospital or similar setting providing  clerical/administrative support performing duties such as answering the telephone and providing customer service, scheduling appointments, maintaining administrative and/or medical records, entering data and providing reports from automated information computer systems, and explaining policies and procedures to patients or customers.

Assignment:  This is the full performance level for MSAs. At this level, the MSA performs a full range of duties. The MSA is responsible for 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's appointments and/or consults; entering no-show information; monitoring the electronic wait list; preparing for clinic visits; monitoring both inpatient and outpatient appointments for areas of responsibility; ensuring encounter forms are completed in order to obtain appropriate workload credit; verifying and updating demographics and insurance information; processing all emergency and non-emergency transfers to other VA facilities or private hospitals; performing basic eligibility, co-pays and preauthorization
requirements for specific coverage (i.e., TRICARE, sharing agreements, etc.).

Candidates must demonstrate the KSAs below:

  1. Ability to operate computerized programs and databases in order to enter, modify and retrieve sensitive information/data into or from electronic medical records, scheduling systems and/or reports.
  2. Knowledge of basic medical terminology.
  3. Ability to make appointments in a clinical setting.
  4. Ability to work independently in the accomplishment of a wide variety of duties, including setting priorities and coordinating work.
  5. Ability to communicate effectively and professionally with employees at varying grade levels.
  6. Ability to identify customer's concerns, perform the tasks required to resolve the issue accurately and timely, and follow-up as necessary to ensure a satisfactory resolution. 

NOTE:  DO NOT respond to the KSA's listed above.  Your application will be evaluated using your resume and responses to the Occupational Assessment Questionnaire to determine if you possess the required KSA's.



References :  VA Handbook 5005/53, Part II, APPENDIX G45  Medical Support Assistant Qualification Standard, dated June 7, 2012.

Physical Requirements:  Must be medically cleared by the VHA Employee Health Unit (EHU) physician prior to entry on duty.  See VA Directive and Handbook 5019.

APPLICANTS PLEASE NOTE:  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 (particularly positions with a positive education requirement.)  Therefore, applicants must report only attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  Applicants can verify accreditation at the following website: All education claimed by applicants will be verified by the appointing agency accordingly.  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.

Veterans' Preference:

When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference on their application or résumé. Applicants claiming preference based on service-connected disability, or based on being the spouse or mother of a disabled or deceased Veteran, must complete an SF 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference. Veterans who are still in the service may be granted tentative preference on the basis of information contained in their applications, but they must produce a DD Form 214 or other proof prior to appointment to document entitlement to preference.  For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit


Applicants will be ranked based on four quality groups, as follows:

·         Best qualified - applicants possessing experience that substantially exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are highly proficient in all requirements of the job and can perform effectively in the position;


·         Highly qualified - applicants possessing experience that exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in most of the requirements of the job;


·         Well qualified - applicants possessing experience that meets the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in some, but not all, of the requirements of the job; and


·         Qualified - applicants possessing experience and/or education that meets the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors.

After the vacancy announcement closes, reviewed applications are evaluated against the questionnaire responses and placed in the appropriate quality group.  Qualified veterans will be afforded preference.  The best qualified group is the first to be referred to the hiring facility for further consideration and possible interview.  The remaining groups may be referred based on the number of applicants available.  Your résumé and/or supporting documentation will be verified. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating or consideration for employment.


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Working for the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, thrift savings plan, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System. In addition to traditional "dollars and cents" benefits, we offer a range of benefits to help balance work and life.  For more information please visit us at 

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.


This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status. 

Receiving Service Credit for Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave:  Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee.   VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employees credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service.  This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave.


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To begin the process, click the Apply Online button at the right side of this screen to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account. Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire. Please ensure you click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process. 

YOU MUST INCLUDE a completed and signed and dated VA FORM 10-2850c IN YOUR APPLICATION PACKAGE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THIS VACANCY.   You may upload the completed form to your USAJOBS or Application Manager account if you apply online.  Then you can use the uploaded form again and again when applying for future vacancies.  Please see this guide ( for more information on uploading and re-using the form in your applications.  Other required forms and documents can also be saved in your account and used the same way.  Applicants are urged to apply online; this process is much easier and faster. 

Note: To return to a previously Saved or Incomplete application, just reapply through your account in USAJOBS. Check your account ( to see the status of your application after applying, including any messages that may have been sent to you. 

A fax machine is available for internal applicants in Human Resources, Career Development Center, Room 2207.  You may fax you application and supporting documents Monday-Friday from 8:00am-4:30pm.


If you cannot apply online:

  1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire: View Occupational Questionnaire.
  2. Print this 1203FX form to provide your response to the occupational questionnaire:
  3. Fax the completed 1203FX form along with all supporting documents to (478) 757-3144.  Your 1203FX form must be placed on top of all materials being faxed and will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.
  4. Keep a copy of your fax receipt in case verification is needed. 

To fax supporting documents you are unable to upload:

  1. Complete this cover page using the following Vacancy ID: 968943.  You must use this fax cover sheet in order for your documents to be matched with your online application.
  2. Fax your documents to (478) 757-3144.
  3. Keep a copy of your fax receipt in case verification is needed. 

The complete Application Package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Monday, October 14, 2013.


APPLICATION PACKET- INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS will recieve a rating of IFM (ineligible due to missing forms).  Requests for reconsideration of ratings will not be considered for applicants who fail to submit a complete application package before the closing date of this announcement.  We cannot be held responsible for incompatible software or fax transmissions, etc.


The following documents are required:

REQUIRED:  Résumé/ CV.  Your resume or CV should include the vacancy announcement information and personal information including:   current/ prior Federal service information, education information, work experience which includes job title, duties, and responsibilities, employer's name and address, supervisor's name and telephone number, starting and ending dates of employment, hours worked per week, and salary.   Please indicate whether your supervisor(s) can be contacted.

REQUIRED:  10-2850c - Application for Associated Health Occupations (MUST BE SIGNED AND DATED TO BE CONSIDERED COMPLETE). (available at . 

REQUIRED:   If you are a current or former federal employee, you must submit your most recent SF 50 (Notification of Personnel Action)                                          

REQUIRED :  Responses to the occupational questionnaire.

REQUIRED:  Unofficial copy of your transcript if you are using education to qualify

REQUIRED:  Veterans preference documentation such as DD-214 , SF 15, and VA Letter as appropriate .  Applicants claiming preference based on service-connected disability, or based on being the spouse or mother of a disabled or deceased Veteran, must also complete and submit an SF 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference. 

Any other documents required by the checklist.


Brooke Weckwarth
Phone: (205)933-8101x4595
Agency Information:
VHA Birmingham VAMC
Department of Veteran Affairs
700 19th Street South
Human Resources
Birmingham, AL


After we receive your complete application package (including any required documents), your qualifications will be reviewed to decide if you meet the basic requirements.  You will be notified when this decision is made. 

For more information on the VA’s preferred method of interviewing, please visit .

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