Trends in health care management point to a future of rapid change confronting managers in new and diverse health care delivery settings. While the number of acute hospitals is expected to decline, there will be an increase in alternative health care facilities on local, regional and statewide levels. As funding sources for health care delivery undergo modification complexity in health care administration will increase. Masters prepared health service managers may work as chief or executive administrators, assistants to chief executives, or as directors and mangers of departments and units. Some examples of the settings where MHA graduates work include: hospitals and hospital systems, physician practices and clinics, long term care facilities, managed care organizations, consulting firms, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, local/state/federal health agencies, health insurance companies, and medical supply and equipment manufacturers. For more information on the occupational, career, and income opportunities available to MHA graduates please see the "Careers In Health Services Management" section below. The population of the metropolitan Charlotte region (which includes 18 contiguous counties in North Carolina and South Carolina) is one of the most rapidly growing in the country, and currently exceeds 2.5 million people. Health care facilities are among the largest employers in the region and offer expanding opportunities for health care professionals.
The term "health services manager" describes people in many different positions who plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise the delivery of healthcare. Health services managers include both generalists (administrators who manage or help to manage an entire institution or system), and health specialists (administrators in charge of specific departments or services found only in the health care sector).
Why a Career in Health Services Management?
A career in health services management combines features many would describe as highly desirable including:
- The opportunity to work in a professionally challenging environment on some of the most critical issues and problems in our society.
- The personal satisfaction of knowing your work makes a difference to the health and well being of people in your community.
- Serve in visible and important leadership positions in your community.
- Jobs that offer a broad range of roles encompassing many different skills, organizational settings, scope of responsibility, and interests.
- The potential for advancement and financial rewards that go with executive responsibility.
The health care sector is a large component of the US economy. Expenditures on health care account for a growing share (almost 14%) of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Currently 1 in 6 new jobs in the American economy is in the health care sector. While the majority of these new jobs are for actual care givers, an ever increasing share of these jobs are going to health services managers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS) reports that employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow faster than average (increase 21-35%) relative to all other occupations in the first decade of the 21st century. Given an aging population, as well as population increases from immigration, there is no reason to believe there will be a reversal in these trends.
Opportunities for managers will be related to the areas of growth in the industry. Job growth is forecasted to be particularly good in home healthcare, long-term care, managed care organizations, and consulting firms. The USBLS reported that in the year 2000 medical and health services managers accounted for 250,000 jobs. About 40% were in hospitals, and 20% were in nursing and personal care facilities and physician clinics. The remainder worked in a variety of settings including facilities run by state and local governments, home health agencies, medical laboratories, and social service agencies.
Master's prepared health services managers can work in organizations where either health care is delivered or organizations that support the delivery of health care. Entry-level MHA graduates can expect to hold positions such as supervisor, clinic or program coordinator, and department manager in larger organizations, or managing directors of smaller organizations. The potential for job advancement is great because many health care organizations are large, with multiple levels of management responsibility through the chain of command. Some examples of the settings where MHA graduates work are:
- Hospitals and hospital systems
- Physician practices and clinics
- Long-term care facilities
- Home healthcare agencies
- Community health centers
- Managed care organizations
- Health Science centers
- Medical supply and equipment manufacturers
- Pharmaceutical firm
- Biotechnology companies
- Consulting firms
- Advocacy groups and associations
- Local/State/Federal health Agencies
- Health insurance companies
Finding Career Information
Below are listed several sources you could use to further explore what health services management is about, and the type of career opportunities that are available.
- American College of Healthcare Executives
- ACHE Directory of Post Graduate Fellowships
- Hospital Administration - American Hospital Association
- Health Finance - Healthcare Financial Management Association
- Information Systems - Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
- LeadingAge - Expanding the World of Possibilities for Aging
- Managed Care - American Association of Health Plans
- Office Practice Management - Medical Group Management Association
- Nursing Administration - American Organization of Nurse Executives
- Health Care Consulting - National Society of Certified Healthcare Consultants
- Public Health - American Public Health Association