For many people, the picture of a busy executive sitting behind the desk and fully immersed in paperwork often springs to the mind when they hear the words ‘healthcare administration.’ However, this picture is certainly not the whole story.
While healthcare administration professionals typically work in a hospital setting, they perform numerous job responsibilities. These professionals oversee, manage, and govern healthcare systems such as vast hospital networks and clinical facilities. Not only this, but these ambitious professionals work in close collaboration with staff members to ensure patients receive optimum care.
However, it’s relevant to note that healthcare administration professionals can take on several roles, and the responsibilities of each may differ significantly. For instance, the graduates can also choose to pursue their careers in physician offices, patient care facilities, or research areas within insurance agencies.
The experience needed to acquire a healthcare administration role also lends itself to other domains of the healthcare industry. For example, individuals can work in private practice or ambulatory care services. Some may choose pharmaceutical services or find their way into behind-the-scenes work, such as laboratories, to ensure they are safe and well-stocked.
The Importance of Health Administration
According to the data revealed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the national health expenditures reached $4.3 trillion in 2021 and made up 18.3% of the gross domestic product. And this is forecasted to grow to 19.6% by the year 2031.
Given these significant findings, the demand for professionals who can oversee and promote efficiency and run the business side of the healthcare systems is at an all-time high. Thus, there’s no right time like the present for individuals to get their foot in the door. While a bachelor’s degree can help aspiring individuals step into this field, with increasing competition, employers seek candidates with quality education and refined skillset. Therefore, individuals should consider a health administration MPA degree to land top-level positions in healthcare administration, public health, consulting, and policy evaluation careers.
A master’s in public administration with a concentration in health administration degree equips individuals with executive management, budgeting, and policy development knowledge and expertise. Not only this, the degree also opens the doors to a plethora of careers. The following are some of them:
- Health Insurance Specialist
Health insurance specialists are primarily responsible for managing the financial transactions of patients. More often than not, employed by medical facilities, practitioner groups, and government agencies, these professionals share information about health insurance programs, regulations, and legislative amendments.
On a given day, the job responsibilities of health insurance specialists include the following:
- Examine new and existing applications for coverage to ensure all necessary information is incorporated
- Verify health information and other criteria to determine whether a patient or family member is eligible for coverage
- Review and update internal databases, proofread medical coding, and help patients comprehend medical benefits
These professionals earn an average base salary of $59,994 each year. However, individuals interested in joining this profession must hone communication, collaboration, research, and customer service skills.
- Nursing Home Administrator
A nursing home administrator, in essence, is responsible for administrative tasks to guarantee that staff members and patients have what they need to deliver and receive high-quality care. Besides taking care of clinical and administrative responsibilities, these professionals also help nurture a positive and healthy atmosphere for employees and residents.
The following are some typical job duties of nursing home administrators:
- Develop long-term goals and ensure clinical, custodial, and managerial teams work together effectively
- Oversee daily operations and make sure the facility adheres to local and federal regulations
- Devise budget, monitor the financial progress of a facility, and come up with quality assurance initiatives
- Initiate programs, develop strategies, and instill a sense of purpose in employees to help them perform their best
As per the data shared by PayScale, nursing home administrators earn an average median salary of $96,349. However, individuals who wish to become part of this profession should develop and sharpen their financial literacy, management, interpersonal, and organizational skills.
- Health Information Manager
These managers mainly focus on data. They are responsible for monitoring, supervising, and protecting patient health information such as medical bills, histories, diagnosis reports, and symptom details. These professionals ensure the quality, security, consistency, and accessibility of traditional and digital patient data. These administrative professionals act as mediators between physicians, third-party payers, and patients.
The job duties of health information managers include, but are not limited to:
- Work in collaboration with the coding professionals to protect data from security breaches and system glitches
- Monitor data-driven projects and implement quality improvement measures to ensure the security of data
- Educate staff members about the best practices for feeding the data into systems
- Examine the existing medical records to ensure the accurate documentation of diagnoses
Health information managers possess strong project management, attention to detail, compliance, and analytical skills. Also, these professionals earn an average base salary of $63,105, according to the data.
- Human Resources Manager
Healthcare human resources managers are in charge of the smooth running of healthcare facilities. These individuals make decisions that directly influence the safety and well-being of staff members. Regardless of where they work – either in a healthcare setting or a non-profit organization, these professionals manage employee relations and other aspects of the workforce.
The day-to-day job responsibilities of human resources managers include the following:
- Screen candidates, interview them, oversee the recruitment process, and train new employees
- Plan and administer employee benefit plans and resolve workplace conflicts among staff members
- Manage payroll processes and work with departmental head to discuss staffing needs
- Ensure compliance with state and federal legal regulations and take measures for sanitation of the healthcare facility
Individuals who aspire to become human resources managers in the healthcare industry should be adept at decision-making, problem-solving, and communication skills. Besides, they should be able to work under pressure since the job requires them to manage various tasks simultaneously.
The field of healthcare administration provides myriad opportunities for ambitious individuals. With the ever-expanding healthcare sector and the growing demand for effective management, several career pathways exist to explore. In addition, the promising job outlook makes the field an attractive option for professionals or anyone who wants to venture into this area and make a real difference.
From human resources managers and hospital administrators to insurance specialists and healthcare consultants, the choices are rewarding. It’s safe to state that the demand for these professionals will continue to soar, offering numerous opportunities for development and growth. So, whether an individual possesses exceptional problem-solving skills or impressive organizational skills, a career in the field of healthcare administration can be an immensely fulfilling and impactful option for a professional journey.