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.

Duties

Medical and health services managers typically do the following:

  • Improve efficiency and quality in delivering healthcare services
  • Develop departmental goals and objectives
  • Ensure that the facility in which they work is up to date on and compliant with laws and regulations
  • Recruit, train, and supervise staff members
  • Manage the finances of the facility, such as patient fees and billing
  • Create work schedules
  • Prepare and monitor budgets and spending to ensure departments operate within funding limits
  • Represent the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards
  • Keep and organize records of the facility’s services, such as the number of inpatient beds used
  • Communicate with members of the medical staff and department heads

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.

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Work Environment

Medical and health services managers held about 406,100 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of medical and health services managers were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 33%
Offices of physicians 11
Nursing and residential care facilities                                10
Government 8
Outpatient care centers 7

Most medical and health services managers work in offices.

Work Schedules

Most medical and health services managers work full time. Some 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 of emergencies.

Education and Training

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 and specific function.

Education

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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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.

Advancement

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. Advancement to top level executive positions usually requires a master’s degree.

Personality and Interests

Medical and health services managers typically have an interest in the Helping, Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Helping or Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a medical and health services manager, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Medical and health services managers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Analytical skills. Medical and health services managers must be able to understand and follow current regulations and be able to adapt to new laws.

Communication skills. These managers must be able to communicate effectively with other health professionals.

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 need to be able to discuss staffing problems and patient information with other professionals, such as physicians and health insurance representatives. They must be able to motivate and lead staff.

Problem-solving skills. These managers are often responsible for finding creative solutions to staffing or other administrative problems.

Technical skills. Medical and health services managers must be able to follow advances in healthcare technology. For example, they may need to use coding and classification software and electronic health record (EHR) systems as their facility adopts these technologies.

Pay

The median annual wage for medical and health services managers was $100,980 in May 2019. 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 $58,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $189,000.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for medical and health services managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $111,520
Hospitals; state, local, and private 110,430
Outpatient care centers 95,320
Offices of physicians 91,600
Nursing and residential care facilities                                  86,820

Most medical and health services managers work full time. Some 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 of emergencies.

Job Outlook

Employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 18 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population ages and people remain active later in life, there should be increased demand for healthcare services.

This means 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 also be increased demand for nursing care facility administrators as the population grows older.

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

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.

For More Information

For more information about medical and healthcare management, visit

Professional Association of Health Care Office Management

American Health Information Management Association

American College of Health Care Administrators

For more information about academic programs in this field, visit

Association of University Programs in Health Administration

Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education

For information about career opportunities in healthcare management, visit

American College of Healthcare Executives

For information about career opportunities in medical group practices and ambulatory care management, visit

Medical Group Management Association

For more information about licensure and training requirements for nursing home and assisted-living facility administrators, visit

National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards

 

FAQ

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The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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