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Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration Physical Therapist in Des Moines, Iowa


This position is in the Extended Care and Rehabilitation service line. The Physical Therapist provides a wide range of Veteran services in the Physical Therapy Section of the Extended Care/Rehab Service Line at VA Central Iowa Health Care System in Des Moines, IA. As a staff physical therapist, the incumbent will serve as a consultant in the provision of physical therapy services for the VA network, PT profession and the community at large.


Incumbent demonstrates a high degree of independence and professional judgment in planning and executing treatment programs to meet routine treatment for the veteran. Makes recommendations and referral to other medical specialties/services as needs are identified during ongoing assessment of this routine patient population. Maintains consistent and timely documentation of patient encounters in the electronic medical record in accordance with accepted PT practice, facility and Rehabilitation Service policies and procedures. Participates in regular team meetings, verbal and written communication and consultation amongst team members in order to guide and evaluate the work. Performs routine physical therapy evaluation and treatment for male and female patients aged 20-85+ years old. Completes a comprehensive systems screen for all patient's. Stage of life is considered and used to modify evaluation and treatment based on the needs of the individual. Involves the patient, family/significant other and medical team in treatment planning and goal setting through ongoing communication. Interprets findings from examination, diagnostic studies/medical tests and, during evaluation, select appropriate clinical tests and measures, and then integrate findings into the physical therapy plan of care for the full range of patient populations. Seeks consultation with other team members for adaptations to an assessment, goals and treatment as needed. Plans and carries out the full range of routine interventions. Modify treatment approach for use with virtual care modalities to align with varied patient environment. Demonstrates independent problem solving skills that allow for frequent modification of treatment plans in response to subtle, but significant changes in the condition of the patient. The employment of innovative treatment techniques is used to obtain the best outcome. Regularly performs re-assessment of treatment outcomes. Assesses for and requests prosthetic/orthotic equipment as needed and is able to make modifications as necessary. Assessment of the patient's learning needs is performed and patient education is tailored to meet those needs involving the patient, family and significant others in the process as appropriate. Supervises Physical Therapy Assistants in compliance with VA directive. Shares knowledge and expertise about the scope of physical therapy practice and services. Shares knowledge through direct consultation, mentorship, development of in-services, clinical training, and leading by example. Completes educational activities and competencies to maintain state licensure and any additional certification(s) as required by the certifying/licensing agency and the VA. Completes annual mandatory reviews and other education as directed by VHA. Develops and provides individualized clinical training experience for physical therapy students. Actively participates in program development to improve efficiency and quality of care provided to patients. Participates in the development of CRH policies, procedures, quality assurance monitors, and related standards of care. Attend educational and development meetings for the CRH. Aware of and adheres to the department/service/facility's values, mission, rules, policies and pro-cedures and the American Physical Therapy Association Standards of Practice and Standards of Ethics to insure quality patient care. Aware of safety concerns, regulations, policies and procedures, and employs appropriate safety practices. Accurate and timely documentation that follows department and professional standards of patient services including evaluation, progress, discharge, patient contacts, and patient educations. Timely and accurate selection and application of the correct reimbursement codes and workload entry as supported by documentation. Maintains department and professional knowledge of coding and workload entry. Participates in the performance appraisal process by establishing goals, reviewing progress with supervisor and preparing self-review. Preferred Experience: Physical Therapy License

Work Schedule: Full-time; 7:00am - 3:30pm, 7:30am - 4:00pm, or 8:00am - 4:30pm

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required


Conditions of Employment


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 and experience: The individual must meet at least one of the requirements below:(1) Bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy AND five years of progressively independent experience as a physical therapist OR (2) Master's degree in Physical Therapy AND two years of progressively independent experience as a physical therapist OR (3) Doctorate degree in physical therapy. Individuals must be a graduate of a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredited college or university. Licensure: Individuals hold a full, current, and unrestricted license to practice physical therapy in a State, Territory or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia. Non-licensed PTs, who otherwise meet the basic requirements in this standard, may be given a temporary appointment as a graduate PT at the GS-11 grade level 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 PT provide care only under the supervision of a PT who is licensed. Failure to obtain licensure during that period is justification for termination of the temporary appointment. Physical Requirements: The incumbent must demonstrate the ability to walk, to get to other hospital locations on a daily basis, standing, repeated bending, reaching over head, and pushing patients and objects for up to four hours per regular shift, prolonged sitting, moderate lifting and carrying of 15-44 pounds. 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). All licensed PTs employed in VHA on the effective date of this qualification standard are considered to have met all qualification requirements for the title, series and grade held, including positive education and licensure that are part of the basic requirements of the occupation. For employees who do not meet all the basic requirements required in this standard, but who met the qualifications applicable to the position at the time they were appointed to it, the following provisions apply:

(1) Employees grandfathered into the GS-0633 occupational series as PTs may be reassigned, promoted up to and including the full performance (journey) level, or changed to lower grade within the occupation.(2) PTs who are appointed on a temporary basis prior to the effective date of this qualification standard may not have their temporary appointment extended or be reappointed on a temporary or permanent basis until they fully meet the basic requirements of this standard.

(3) PTs initially grandfathered into this occupation, who subsequently obtain additional education and/or licensure/certification/registration, meet all the basic requirements of this qualification standard and must maintain the required credentials as a condition of employment in the occupation.

(4) If PTs who are grandfathered under this provision leave the occupation, the employee loses protected status and must meet the full VA qualification standard requirements in effect at the time of reentry to the occupation. Preferred Experience: Physical Therapy License Grade Determinations: GS-11 Physical Therapist (Entry): Education, Experience, and Licensure. None beyond the basic requirements. (NOTE: See exception to licensure requirement above.) GS-12 Physical Therapist (Full Performance Level): (a) Education, Experience and Licensure. In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must possess one year of experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level, hold a valid unrestricted state license and demonstrate all the KSAs below:

(b)Demonstrated Knowledge Skills and Abilities:

  1. Ability to make autonomous clinical decisions in a Direct Access environment. This includes ability to independently evaluate and treat patients who seek physical therapy services.

  2. Skill in performing examinations and evaluations of individuals who have or may develop impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions related to conditions of the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and/or integumentary systems while considering the effects attributable to unique psychosocial and environmental factors.

  3. Ability to interpret findings from examination and evaluation, select appropriate test and measures, and integrate findings into the physical therapy plan of care for the full range of patient populations.

  4. Ability to establish a diagnosis within the scope of physical therapy and identify the appropriate rehabilitation intervention, including referral to another provider for further consultation as clinically indicated.

  5. Ability to determine physical therapy prognosis by incorporating examination findings with the patient's preferences in order to set clinically appropriate treatment goals, optimize outcomes and maximize functional independence.

  6. Ability to independently provide clinical oversight of Physical Therapy Assistants as well as students on clinical affiliations who are in Doctoral PT Programs or PTA Programs. References: VA Handbook 5005/99, Part II, Appendix G12 The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-12. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-11 to GS-12.


IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application. 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.