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Medical and health services managers, also called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. They may manage an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice for a group of physicians. Medical and health services managers must adapt to changes in healthcare laws, regulations, and technology.
Medical and health services managers typically do the following:
Medical and health services managers work closely with physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, and other healthcare workers. Others may interact with patients or insurance agents.
Medical and health services managers’ titles depend on the facility or area of expertise in which they work. The following are examples of types of medical and health services managers:
Nursing home administrators manage staff, admissions, finances, and care of the building, as well as care of the residents in nursing homes. All states require licensure for nursing home administrators; licensing requirements vary by state.
Clinical managers oversee a specific department, such as nursing, surgery, or physical therapy, and have responsibilities based on that specialty. Clinical managers set and carry out policies, goals, and procedures for their departments; evaluate the quality of the staff’s work; and develop reports and budgets.
Health information managers are responsible for the maintenance and security of all patient records and data. They must stay up to date with evolving information technology, current or proposed laws about health information systems, and trends in managing large amounts of complex data. Health information managers must ensure that databases are complete, accurate, and accessible only to authorized personnel. They also may supervise the work of medical records and health information technicians.
Assistant administrators work under the top administrator in larger facilities and often handle daily decisions. Assistants might direct activities in clinical areas, such as nursing, surgery, therapy, medical records, or health information. They also handle administrative tasks, such as ensuring that their department has the necessary supplies and that equipment is operational and up to date.
Medical and health services managers hold about 333,000 jobs. The industries that employ the most medical and health services managers are as follows:
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||37%|
|Offices of physicians||10|
|Nursing and residential care facilities||10|
|Home healthcare services||6|
Most medical and health services managers work in offices in healthcare facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes, and group medical practices.
Most medical and health services managers work full time. About 1 in 3 managers work more than 40 hours per week. Work during evenings or weekends may be required in healthcare settings that are open at all hours, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Medical and health services managers may need to be on call in case emergencies arise.
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Most medical and health services managers have at least a bachelor’s degree before entering the field. However, master’s degrees are common and sometimes preferred by employers. Educational requirements vary by facility.
Medical and health services managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. However, master’s degrees are common and sometimes preferred by employers. Graduate programs often last between 2 and 3 years and may include up to 1 year of supervised administrative experience in a hospital or healthcare consulting setting.
Prospective medical and health services managers typically have a degree in health administration, health management, nursing, public health administration, or business administration. Degrees that focus on both management and healthcare combine business-related courses with courses in medical terminology, hospital organization, and health information systems. For example, a degree in health administration or health information management often includes courses in health services management, accounting and budgeting, human resources administration, strategic planning, law and ethics, health economics, and health information systems.
Many employers require prospective medical and health services managers to have some work experience in either an administrative or a clinical role in a hospital or other healthcare facility. For example, nursing home administrators usually have years of experience working as a registered nurse.
Others may begin their careers as medical records and health information technicians, administrative assistants, or financial clerks within a healthcare office.
Analytical skills. Medical and health services managers must understand and follow current regulations and adapt to new laws.
Communication skills. These managers must effectively communicate policies and procedures with other health professionals and ensure their staff’s compliance with new laws and regulations.
Detail oriented. Medical and health services managers must pay attention to detail. They might be required to organize and maintain scheduling and billing information for very large facilities, such as hospitals.
Interpersonal skills. Medical and health services managers discuss staffing problems and patient information with other professionals, such as physicians and health insurance representatives.
Leadership skills. These managers are often responsible for finding creative solutions to staffing or other administrative problems. They must hire, train, motivate, and lead staff.
Technical skills. Medical and health services managers must stay up to date with advances in healthcare technology and data analytics. For example, they may need to use coding and classification software and electronic health record (EHR) systems as their facility adopts these technologies.
All states require licensure for nursing home administrators; requirements vary by state. In most states, these administrators must have a bachelor’s degree, complete a state-approved training program, and pass a national licensing exam. Some states also require applicants to pass a state-specific exam; others may require applicants to have previous work experience in a healthcare facility. Some states also require licensure for administrators in assisted-living facilities. For information on specific state-by-state licensure requirements, visit the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards.
A license is typically not required in other areas of medical and health services management. However, some positions may require applicants to have a registered nurse or social worker license.
Although certification is not required, some managers choose to become certified. Certification is available in many areas of practice. For example, the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management offers certification in medical management, the American Health Information Management Association offers health information management certification, and the American College of Health Care Administrators offers the Certified Nursing Home Administrator and Certified Assisted Living Administrator distinctions.
Medical and health services managers advance by moving into higher paying positions with more responsibility. Some health information managers, for example, can advance to become responsible for the entire hospital’s information systems. Other managers may advance to top executive positions within the organization.
The median annual wage for medical and health services managers is $94,500. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $165,380.
The median annual wages for medical and health services managers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||$102,060|
|Offices of physicians||85,600|
|Home healthcare services||82,430|
|Nursing and residential care facilities||78,540|
Most medical and health services managers work full time. About 1 in 3 managers work more than 40 hours per week. Work during evenings or weekends may be required in healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes, which are open at all hours. Medical and health services managers may need to be on call in case emergencies arise.
Employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 17 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population ages and people remain active later in life, the healthcare industry as a whole should see an increase in the demand for medical services.
This increased demand should create greater needs for physicians and other healthcare workers, medical procedures, and healthcare facilities, and therefore greater needs for managers who organize and manage medical information and healthcare staff. There should be increased demand for nursing care facility administrators as baby boomers age.
Employment is projected to grow in offices of health practitioners. Many services previously provided in hospitals will shift to these settings, especially as medical technologies improve. Demand in medical group practice management is projected to grow as medical group practices become larger and more complex.
In addition, widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) will continue to create demand for managers with knowledge of health information technology (IT) and informatics systems. Medical and health services managers will be needed to organize, manage, and integrate these records across areas of the healthcare industry.
Job prospects for medical and health services managers are likely to be favorable. In addition to rising employment demand, the need to replace managers who retire over the next decade will result in some openings. Candidates with a master’s degree in health administration or a related field, as well as knowledge of healthcare IT systems, will likely have the best prospects.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2014||Projected Employment, 2024||Change, 2014-24|
|Medical and health services managers||333,000||389,300||17||56,300|