Health Services Management Degree

By Henry R. Steele - May 24, 2017
Reading Time: 6 minutes

As a health services manager, you will be in charge of planning, directing and coordinating medical and health services. Health services managers typically manage a whole facility, a certain clinical area, or sometimes a medical practice of health care professionals.

A health services manager also handles various business administration skills and medical services, as well keep up to date of the changing federal and state laws governing healthcare.

Typical duties of a health services manager include:

  • Boosting efficiency in the delivery of healthcare services in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities
  • Developing effective health services department goals and objectives
  • Ensuring that the facility is entirely up to date with all current regulations and laws
  • Effectively train and supervise staff
  • Create and manage work schedules
  • Prepare and monitor health care facility budgets and spending
  • Organize the records of the facility, including supplies and number of patients
  • Determine an accurate staff level for a given period of time

What Is Health Services Management?

Health services management involves the efficient management and operation of many types of healthcare facilities. These managers are responsible for ensuring that the facility is running smoothly, is properly staffed and is meeting budget targets.

Health services management also entails making certain that all healthcare regulations and laws are being followed. Health services management roles can vary slightly depending upon the type of healthcare facility:

  • Nursing homes: In charge of managing patient admissions, staff, finances, and building operations, as well as the level of care that all residents receive. Note that managing a nursing home requires you to be licensed in your state.
  • Clinical management facilities: You may oversee a certain department, such as physical therapy, nursing or surgery. Clinical services managers are responsible for establishing and carrying out facility policies, procedures and goals for the specific department.
  • Health information management departments: Maintain the security of patient data and information. They need to stay up to date on the evolution of Internet technology and also be current on laws government health information systems. Databases need to be accurate, complete and accessible.

Opportunity

Effective health service managers are behind every successful health care facility; they are responsible for all critical administrative and financial functions that keep the facility in operation. They handle budgeting, scheduling, operations and various ways to improve efficiency and patient care.

These workers are becoming much more in demand in America as healthcare services become more advanced. Also, more Americans are growing older, with millions of more people over 65 in the coming decades.  This means that there will be much more need for all types of healthcare services and facilities.

These facts are borne out in the increasing job demand for health care managers and health services managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in this field will swell by 17% by 2024, which is much faster than average.

Increased demand for healthcare services will definitely create more need for doctors and other health care professionals, and thus more need for expert health services managers.

Government statistics indicate that there will especially robust growth in this field in health practitioner offices. Many healthcare services that formerly were provided in hospitals are now done in doctor’s offices. Demand for good healthcare services managers will surely increase in the coming years.

Career Paths

BLS states that there were 333,000 health services managers in 2014, and there will be 389,300 by 2024. They work in these types of facilities:

  • Hospitals: 37%
  • Doctor’s offices: 10%
  • Nursing homes: 10%
  • Government: 9%
  • Home healthcare: 6%

Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median salary for medical and health services managers was $96,500 in 2016. The bottom 10% earned less than $56,970. The top 10% earned more than $172,000. The BLS also reported varying salaries in these areas:

  • Hospitals: $104,000
  • Government: $104,110
  • Doctor’s offices: $87,000
  • Home healthcare: $84,500
  • Nursing and residential care: $80,300

Geographic location also is relevant in determining salary. These are the top states to work in for health services managers and healthcare administrators:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

The salary for the top eight exceeds $70 per hour, while for Oregon and Vermont, the hourly wage is approximately $68 per hour.

Employers

With a health services management degree, you can work in virtually any healthcare company in the US. Some of the top employers for health services managers include:

  • Bon Secours Health System
  • Sentara Healthcare
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Aetna
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Baptist Health
  • HCR ManorCare
  • Continuum Health Partners
  • Texas Health Resources

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s in health services management will prepare you to be a lower level manager in hospitals, nursing homes, home health facilities, and other healthcare organizations.

A bachelor’s degree is often suitable to get started in a health services management career, but most managers and administrators of large healthcare systems have a master’s degree.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree in health services management or health administration is often considered the gold standard for being a manager of a large healthcare system or hospital. These programs take two or three years and often include a year of closely supervised administrative experience in a healthcare setting.

Online Degrees

A popular option today is to earn your master’s in health services management online while continuing to work at least part time. This allows you to continue to get experience working in a healthcare environment while also earning your master’s degree.

It is important to ensure that your master’s program has been properly accredited to be confident that it has met high educational standards. In this field, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education or CAHME is the respected accreditation body to look for.

Johns Hopkins University offers a quality Master of Science in Healthcare Management that can be earned online.

Admission Requirements

Each university has its own specific requirements, but these admission criteria are common at the master’s level:

  • 0 GPA at undergraduate level
  • College transcripts
  • GMAT or GRE scores (may be waived in some cases with high GPA)
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Updated resume
  • Writing samples

Curriculum

Each university has its own curriculum, but a program that has CAHME accreditation will each follow the same high-quality standards for its curriculum. Typical coursework at the master’s level includes:

  • Business Communication
  • Business Leadership and Human Values
  • Healthcare Operations
  • Medical Devices and Diagnostics
  • Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals
  • Healthcare Financing and Financial Management
  • Healthcare Innovation and Evaluation
  • Research and Policy Seminars

Specializations

There are many types of healthcare facilities and services, so there are a variety of areas in which you can specialize in this growing field:

  • Hospital human resources: Large hospital systems employ thousands of people, and HR managers are needed to recruit quality workers constantly. They also need to ensure that good employees are retained and put in jobs that suit their skills.
  • Business management: Responsible for ensuring that the business activities of the healthcare organization are running at peak efficiency. All financial records and accounting activities have to be in order.
  • Patient advocacy: This is a more patient-focused specialty in health services management, where you have to not only know the operations of the facility but also complete knowledge of the public assistance and insurance options available.
  • Program management: This is a function where the manager works with all the different heads of different departments to ensure that all program and project information is properly integrated into the computer and information systems.
  • Hospital management: Modern hospital systems are often very large organizations. Being in charge of a large hospital or hospital system requires excellent administrative, organizational and communication skills.

Financial Assistance

Completing a health services management degree, especially at the master’s level, can be expensive. You have to spend money on tuition, fees, books, and more. Also, you need to continue to work, and it can be challenging to meet all of your financial obligations while earning your degree.

Many students apply for scholarships, grants, federal and private loans and fellowships at their university. There also are a variety of external scholarships available in this field, including:

  • Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship: $5000
  • Bachrach Family Scholarship for Excellence in Healthcare Administration: $1000 to $5000
  • Bill and Mary Russell Scholarship: $500
  • Corris Boyd Scholars Program: $40,000
  • David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship: $10,000
  • Elliott C. Roberts Scholarship: $1000
  • Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship: $5000

Certifications

While certifications are not generally required to work as a health services manager, earning a respected certification can provide additional career opportunities. These organizations offer certifications in this and related fields:

  • Professional Association of Health Care Office Management
  • American Health Information Management Association
  • American College of Healthcare Administration

Associations

Healthcare professionals who want to be employed as a health services manager can benefit from joining associations and professional associations in the field. This allows you to improve your professionals skills and to network:

  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
  • American Public Health Association
  • National Association of Health Services Executives
  • American College Health Association
  • Health Care Administrators Association

A health services management career is very rewarding in many ways. There is strong, growing demand for health services managers and administrators, and the salaries are high. You also will develop highly specialized skills as you manage the operations of a health care facility.

References

Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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