How to Become a Medical and Health Services Manager: A Career Guide
What is a Medical and Health Services Manager?
A Medical and Health Services Manager is a professional who works in healthcare facilities overseeing the business operations, employees, and finances to ensure the facility can function effectively.
What do Medical and Health Services Managers do?
Medical and Health Services Managers plan, direct, and coordinate the business activities of healthcare facilities such as nursing homes and other care facilities, working closely with medical doctors, nurses, technicians, and other specialists in healthcare services. Medical and Health Services Manager is a general term, but you may find more specific career options as health care administrators, nursing home administrators, information systems administrators, or financial managers that fulfill similar roles at healthcare facilities. For example, some health services managers include:
Nursing home administrators specifically oversee the operations of a nursing home or care facility for older, elderly people. This can include managing the needs or requests of family members of nursing home residents, negotiating contracts for food suppliers that deliver food to serve residents, or meeting with nursing home staff members to discuss a new protocol set forth by the government or coordinating body.
Information systems administrators may work in a variety of health care environments (hospital, private clinic, therapist office, etc.), but their job primarily focuses on overseeing the operations of the technology, computers, equipment, and often electronic medical records for the healthcare facility.
Financial managers, like information systems administrators, could work in a variety of health care environments, but are going to spend most of the time working on the budget, costs, financial processes, relationships with auditors, insurance comapnies, and billing collection agencies to manage the financial assets of the healthcare facility they work for. Their role can vary, especially depending on if the healthcare facility is a for-profit or non-profit institution.
Some additional general responsibilities of most health care administrators are:
- Developing departmental goals and objectives
- Ensuring the facility they work in is up to date and compliant with laws and regulations
- Recruiting, training, and supervising staff members
- Creating work schedules
- Representing the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards
- Keeping records of the facility’s services, such as the number of inpatient beds used
For more information on the typical tasks and how to become a Medical and Health Services Manager, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A typical day in the life of a Medical and Health Services Manager
Most Medical and Health Services Managers work a usual Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm schedule, with the expectation that they may have to work some late nights and weekends if situations arise for their care facility. An example of what their day may look like could be:
- 8:00am – Arrive to Office and Check Emails
- 9:00am – Meet with Department Supervisors (financial managers, nursing directors, technology directors, or maintenance/facilities directors) to ensure operations are running smoothly and discuss company-wide initiatives
- 10:30am – Review contract for third-party services being negotiated by legal team
- 11:00am – Communicate with financial managers and legal team on long-term goals with third-party partner
- 12:00pm – Lunch break
- 1:00pm – Follow up with chief physician on current medical case counts and discuss purchasing state-of-the-art Magnetic-Resonance-Imaging (MRI) machine for facility to conduct in-house scans to reduce transportation costs
- 2:00pm – Review financial impact report from number of successful health cases and reimbursement rates from insurance agencies for last quarter
- 3:00pm – Webinar on Optimizing Insurance Reimbursements for Medicaid Patients
- 4:00pm – Discuss agenda items for upcoming board meeting with administrative assistant
- 5:00pm – Wrap things up, answer last few emails, and go home!
If a system goes down, there’s any issue with any of the departments, or a legal issue that arises outside of the typical 8am-5pm schedule, the health care administrator is responsible for ensuring the issue is handled, regardless of the time of day.
Pros and Cons of being a Medical and Health Services Manager
As with any job, there are positives and negatives to being a medical and health services manager. Here are some pros and cons of the job:
1. Stable salary that pays well
Salaries for healthcare administrators are very good and tend to have stable growth if you remain committed to the job.
2. Able to help others in important times of need
As a health care administrator, you can use your business and management skills to provide positive health care environment for patients and enable patients to receive the optimal care they want in important times of need.
3. Plenty of job opportunities as health care industry is always growing
Health care is always growing and in need, so there will always be jobs for those looking to oversee the facilities that provide care to patients. The job outlook for this career field is very positive, with a very high anticipated need for healthcare managers over the next decade.
4. People need healthcare regardless of the economy, but people will avoid doctor if economy is really bad (elective procedures will be put off if economy is not good, because the facility cannot make money)
There are quite a few important responsibilities on the shoulders of medical and health services managers, and this can be stressful for some people.
2. Health care never rests, so you may have to be available after hours frequently
3. Frequent regulation changes – keeping up with laws can be tough and they are constantly changing
4. Complexity of revenue cycle for health care industry
It’s important to remember that a healthcare facility is still a business, they need to be able to pay the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. The process of working through insurance reimbursements, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. is very complex and sometimes difficult to navigate. – getting paid and people who don’t want to pay their bills
5. People aren’t always happy with you
People don’t always want to pay their bills for the medical services they’ve received. At the end of the day, you’re running a business, and they may not be happy that they have to pay for services rendered.
6. You deal with difficult situations
As the manager, you are responsible for dealing with difficult situations like when someone doesn’t want to pay, doesn’t like the outcome of their treatment, or medical malpractice lawsuits for your healthcare providers on staff.
7. Insurance contracts
8. Medical malpractice suits against doctors
9. Competition between hospitals
Now that you know a little bit about what Medical and Health Services Managers do, you may wonder how to become a medical and health services manager. The journey to become a medical and health services manager begins with a college education.
How to become a Medical and Health Services Manager through Texarkana College
To start a career in healthcare management or healthcare services, a college education is the first place to start. Here are the steps on how to become a medical and health services manager:
1. Earn an Bachelors Degree
Start at Texarkana College to earn your basic classes or an entry level degree program in health sciences before continuing to your higher level coursework. Complete a degree program like Business Administration, Emergency Medical Technology, Behavioral Science or Psychology, Health Sciences, Nursing, Public Health, or something similar to start your journey to becoming a Medical and Health Services Manager. You can start with an associates degree and transfer to finish your bachelors degree, or go straight to a university to pursue a bachelors degree.
2. Enter the field as an entry level employee
Upon graduating with your associates or bachelors degree, you can enter the health service field as an entry level employee. During this time, you may learn the basic fundamentals of the medical industry you’re joining, and what skills should be built upon to serve as a successful manager one day. As you work, build relationships with your supervisors, and watch what the administrators do to learn the skills necessary to fulfill that role.
3. Pursue a graduate degree (masters degree, doctorate, professional degree)
Once you have a few years of experience working in the health care field, you may be ready to pursue a graduate level degree program like a masters degree or doctoral degree program. These types of upper-level degrees are often required to be hired as a Medical and Health Services Manager if the candidate does not have many years of experience in their industry.
Depending on the field of health care you’re considering pursuing, what it takes to be a medical and health services manager can vary. If you are interested in a specific field, contact someone from your local healthcare services for further guidance.
What skills do I need to become a Medical and Health Services Manager?
- Critical Thinking
- Good Communication
- Good at Prioritizing and Delegating Tasks
- Good with technology
- Project management
- Analytical – able to review business analytics and understand them
- Problem Solver
- Able to make tough decisions
What types of people will most likely love being a medical and health services manager?
The types of people who will most likely love being a medical and health services manager are those who have a passion for helping others combined with good business skills and leadership capabilities to effectively work with important stakeholders and community leaders to manage the medical or health services organization.
People with an interest in leading a team of healthcare providers to improve the quality of life for others without having to directly treat and care for patients would likely enjoy this career path.
Not everyone has what it takes to become a medical and health services manager, but if you remain dedicated to your mission, the service of others, and working hard, anyone can be successful at it.
How much do Medical and Health Services Managers make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for Medical and Health Services Managers in Texas was $116,690 in May 2021, the second highest average salary for all states in the U.S. The anticipated job outlook for this career path is much higher than average for all other careers due to many workers retiring or moving to different jobs.
A career in healthcare management is not for everybody, but if the path toward becoming a medical and health services manager seems right for you, explore the Texarkana College health science programs as your place to start.
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