Medical and Health Services Managers Overview
A masters degree is typically required for medical and health services managers, however a bachelors degree may be acceptable for some entry-level positions. Generally, employment opportunities will be good and those with work experience in healthcare or who exhibit strong management skills have a leg up in the industry.
Nature of the Work for Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health service managers, also known as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, are responsible for planning, directing and supervising the delivery of healthcare. Typically, they are specialists who supervise a specific clinical department or they are generalists who oversee an entire facility.
The healthcare business is rapidly evolving and expanding, so medical and health service managers must be prepared to handle the integration of healthcare delivery systems, technological innovations, restructuring of work and an increased focus on preventative care. Within healthcare facilities, medical and health service managers must also increase efficiency as well as maintain the patient’s quality of care.
There are several types of medical and health service managers including: assistant administrators, nursing home administrators, clinical managers and health information managers.
Top administrators are in charge of handling other details of other daily procedures. For example, in addition to caring for residents, a nursing home administrator supervises finances, admissions, facility operations and personnel.
Assistant administrators work in large facilities, directly under the top administrator. They are responsible for handling day-to-day decisions in clinical areas, such as therapy, medical records, surgery, nursing and health information.
Greater and more specific responsibilities are given to clinical managers who specialize in a clinical area. Some duties include designing and enforcing goals, creating objectives and regulations for their departments, developing budgets and reports, evaluating personnel and coordinating activities with other managers. A health information and medical record administrator, for example, has a bachelors degree in health information or medical record administration.
The Federal Government requires that every healthcare provider keep detailed and secure electronic medical records of all patients. Health information managers are responsible for maintaining these records and staying up-to-date on the latest computer and software technology. Health information managers ensure that all data is accurate, current and complete.
The role of the medical and health services administrator varies depending on the size of the healthcare facility. A small group consists of 10 to 15 physicians who employ one administrator to supervise personnel, budgeting, billing and collecting and patient flow. In this case, important business decisions may be left up to the physician. In a small practice, medical and health service managers perform similar duties to their counterparts in a large practice, however they may have more staff to supervise. Community outreach and preventative care are also responsibilities that are usually reserved for the medical and health services manager in a small practice.
A large group that consists of about 40 to 50 physicians may have a chief administrator with several assistants responsible for various departments. Most likely, they are responsible for developing business plans.
In some offices, medical and health service managers have spacious, comfortable offices and in others, they share space with other staff. Long hours should be expected and because many healthcare facilities and hospitals are open around the clock, they are on call throughout the day. Minimal travel to attend conference and meetings, as well as to inspect other facilities is usually necessary.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health service managers must have knowledge of healthcare and management principles. Generally, applicants have masters degrees in health services administration, health sciences, long-term care administration, business administration, public health, or public administration. For entry level positions in smaller facilities, healthcare departments or health information management a bachelors degree may only be required. On-the-job experience may be sufficient for a job in a physician’s office or similar facility.
According to a Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education, there were 72 schools with accredited programs that graduate students with a masters degree in health services administration. Health administration programs for a bachelors, masters and doctoral degree can be found in many locations including colleges, universities, schools of public health, public administration, allied health, medicine and business administration.
Even if a job does not require a degree upon initial hiring, it may be required for advancement in the medical and health services management career. For example, when promoting supervisory registered nurses to a nursing service administrator, a candidate who has administrative abilities and a graduate degree in nursing or health services administration has a better chance of getting the job.
A health information manager need only have a bachelors degree from an accredited program. According to the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education, there are 48 accredited bachelors degree programs and 5 masters degree programs in health information management.
Graduate programs are usually competitive. Some schools are looking for students with a bachelors degree in health services management, while other are looking for those with a liberal arts degree or other health profession background. Programs typically last between two and three years and may include up to one year of supervised administrative experience. Depending on the school chosen, the program allows students to specialize in one type of facility, or it encourages the generalist approach to healthcare administration education.
All states mandate that nursing care facility administrators hold a bachelors degree, pass a licensing examination, pass a State-approved training program and seek continued education. In some states administrators of assisted-living facilities are required to have license. All other health and medical service managers are not required to have a license.
Medical and health services managers are commonly responsible for facilities that house hundred of employees and are worth millions of dollars. They must be open to different opinions and have the ability to analyze contradictory information in order to make effective decisions. They need to have solid finance skills and the ability to interpret data. Strong leadership, diplomacy and communication skills are also necessities for this career.
Recently, medical and health services management applicants with masters degree graduates can obtain entry-level positions as a department manager, although the level that they start depends on the size of the facility. Applicants with a bachelors degree in health administration usually begin their careers as an administrative assistant or assistant department head.
Top 10 Most Popular Healthcare Administration Schools
1. University of Phoenix (Multiple Campus Locations)
2. American InterContinental University (Multiple Campus Locations)
3. Instituto de Banca y Comercio, San Juan (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
4. Davenport University, Lettinga (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
5. Florida Career College (Multiple Campus Locations)
6. Colorado Technical University (Multiple Campus Locations)
7. Altierus Career College (Multiple Campus Locations)
8. Career Point College (Multiple Campus Locations)
9. College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn (Glen Ellyn, Illinois)
10. Kaplan University (Multiple Campus Locations)
Top 10 Most Popular Online Healthcare Administration Schools
1. University of Phoenix - Online School
2. Medical Careers Institute - Online School
3. Ashford University - Online
4. Colorado Technical University - Online School
5. Strayer University - Online School
6. Walden University - Online School
7. University of Maryland University College
8. Keiser University - Online School
9. Virginia College - Online School
10. Berkeley College Online
Employment and Job Outlook for Medical and Health Services Managers
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow faster than average (increase 14 - 19%).
The healthcare industry is continuing to grow and diversify, which is leading to a demand for medical and health services managers. Employment is projected to grow 16 percent in the next ten years, which is faster than average for all other occupations.
Managers in healthcare will be needed to progress the efficiency of healthcare and control costs. Managers will also be needed to supervise and secure the computerization of patient information. New employee recruitments, compliance with altered regulations and improving the community with preventative healthcare are all new tasks that the health and medical services manager will need to oversee.
Hospitals will continue to supply the most jobs for health and medical services managers, however the growth will be slower than other facilities. A faster employment growth is expected in offices of health practitioners. Job competition will be keen at the highest management levels because of the high salary and prestige.
Earnings and Salary for Medical and Health Services Managers
The median annual wage for medical and health services managers is $80,240. While the lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,300, the highest 10 percent earned $137,800. Earnings of medical and health services managers vary by responsibility and depend on the type and size of the healthcare facility. Median annual wages by highest employing industries are:
General medical and surgical hospitals: $87,040
Outpatient care centers: $74,130
Offices of physicians: $74,060
Home health care services: $71,450
Nursing care facilities: $71,190
Annual Salary for Medical and Health Services Managers
On average, Medical and Health Services Managers earn $81,850 per year.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook