Career Overview of Medical and Health Services Managers

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Health services managers coordinate operations for care provider organizations. Their purview may cover a discrete business unit or an entire enterprise. [1] Some employers may call these professionals healthcare managers or administrators. Specific job titles might vary by discipline. For instance, employers may call a health services manger a nursing home administrator, patient records manager or practice administrator depending on the setting. Despite the title, pursuing a career as a health services manager is a stimulating challenge that can be worth the reward.

Educational Requirements for Health Services Managers

Most employers require that health services managers earn a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. [2] However, job candidates that pursue a master’s degree with a focus on public administration, business administration or public health may find that they will qualify for broader opportunities in the future. Alternatively, master’s degree in other health related disciplines such as health law and policy can help professionals specialize in their interest and enable advancement opportunities. Work experience may also help job seekers appear more viable to employers.

Typically, employers’ educational requirements are commensurate with the size of the organization. Depending on the facility, employers may require potential health services managers to obtain state licensing. As an example, many states require nursing care facility executives to acquire state licenses, while the rules vary by state for administrators who accept posts at assisted living facilities.

Common Skills for Health Services Managers

Typically, health services managers are detail-oriented and possess excellent analytical skills. [3] They are also capable of communicating effectively with other professionals such as insurance company representatives, physicians and other health care executives. In this regard, health services managers must display skills in listening, orating and writing. These executives must also use communication skills to coordinate and delegate the tasks required to deliver patient treatments.

Health services managers must have proficient skill in using software such as word processors, electronic file management applications and transcription programs. They must also possess knowledge regarding business and administration practices such as asset management, enterprise planning and human resources.

Roles and Responsibilities

Health services managers ensure operational efficiency and quality of service in addition to developing organizational objectives. They also train the staff and make sure that all personnel comply with laws and regulations regarding health care. Executives must monitor and interpret laws regularly to assess how new regulations affect daily operations. Today, health law frequently evolves based on medical and technological advancements, making it a key responsibility for health services managers. They also serve as representatives for their respective organizations at important gatherings such as board of director meetings.

In the back office, health services administrators oversee financing activities such as patient billing and employee scheduling. The executives also prepare annual organizational budgets in addition to monitoring and controlling departmental expenses throughout the year. Health services managers also track and monitor resources such as the beds used by patients.

Health services managers typically oversee all of the activities required to operate a medical facility or a unit within the facility in addition to identifying areas for improvements while developing goals that promote wellness in the community. They also manage teams and processes to help organizations operate at peak performance and tend to duties such as guiding team members and resolving conflicts.

Employment and Earnings

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that health services managers earned on average $96,540 in 2016. Overall, salaries ranged from as low as $56,970 to as high as $172,240 for the year. The highest paying employment settings for health services managers in 2016 were hospitals, government agencies, physician’s offices and home health services. Most of these professionals work full time, with a third working more than 40 hours per week.

The BLS states that nearly 333,000 individuals hold posts as health services managers each year. The bureau forecasts 17 percent growth in the field between 2014 and 2024, a rate that exceeds most other occupations in the United States. Some of these individuals oversee multiple facilities.

As more citizens retire and live longer, the need for health services will continue to rise. Duly, health care organizations will seek qualified and capable job candidates to oversee health services and grasp health law, especially among the many private practices in the country. This is noteworthy as many of the services commonly provided in the hospital settings will shift to private practices as medical technology improves and health law evolves. Bearing this in mind, the BLS predicts that private practices will grow along with the demand for medical services.

Today, many citizens work well into their sixties. [1] In the right environments, future health services managers may find a satisfying, rewarding position with one of many care provider organizations and, as with other health care professions, there are many opportunities for a fulfilling career with the potential for upward mobility.

Learn More
To learn to speak the language of health law and distinguish your role as a leader with specialized health care compliance expertise, look to pursue a Master’s in Health Law and Policy from Hofstra Law.

Recommended Readings
The Rise of Home Health Care in 2017
Important Steps for Health Care Compliance in 2017
Medicare Through a Health Law Perspective

[1] The Balance
[2] U.S. News & World Report
[3] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics