Health service managers handle the administrative side of medicine. They may be in charge of an entire hospital, a group of doctors, or the office of one physician. As such, they work closely with medical professionals. Unless they're the only administrator, they often manage subordinate administrators in their tasks.
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The title and duties of administrators vary by facility and area of responsibility as shown in the following examples:
- Hospital Administrators – manage the daily operations of a hospital including such departments as admissions, billing, supplies, treatment standards, fund-raising and community health planning. They supervise other administrators who are in charge of specific hospital departments.
- Clinical Managers – are in charge of a specific department, such as physical therapy or nursing. For their area of responsibility, they determine goals, hire and motivate staff, and create budgets.
- Nursing Home Administrators – require a license to oversee the operations of a nursing home, including resident care, staff hiring, facility care, and finances.
- Health Information Managers – handle patient records, often through computerized systems. They must ensure that any information collected, typically via databases, is accurate, complete, and secure.
- Assistant Administrators – help managers with their jobs and may handle daily decision-making for their area of expertise such as medical records or therapy.
Typical tasks of health service managers include the following:
- Hire, motivate, supervise and terminate staff.
- Improve the quality of care in delivering medical services.
- Ensure compliance with ever-changing healthcare laws and requirements.
- Communicate with all facility staff to determine their needs and create work schedules.
- Represent their facilities at investor meetings, governing boards, or public forums.
- Manage finances by preparing budgets and approving purchases.
Most employers require at least a bachelor's degree for health services managers, although master's degrees are also common. Acceptable areas of study include health administration, health services, public health, public administration, long-term care administration, and business administration. Some courses of study allow specialization in a type of facility such as nursing home or hospital. Graduate programs may include at least a year of supervised administrative experience.
Nursing care administrators need a license although state requirements differ. In most cases, applicants must have a bachelor's degree, pass an exam for licensing, and finished a training program that's approved by the state.
Certification is also available such as Certified Nursing Home Administrator offered by the American College of Health Care Administrators or Certified Medical Manager from the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management. These credentials generally require several years experience and passing an exam.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of health services managers runs $103,680 per year with a low under $55,890 and a high above $161,150. Most administrators work for general medical and surgical hospitals to make a mean $110,840 per year and for doctors' offices where the average yearly wage is $102,990. The highest pay is in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing at an annual $158,290 and medical instrument manufacturing at a mean $154,550.
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Employment opportunities are excellent, according the BLS. From 2012 to 2022, jobs should increase by 23 percent, because of a growing and aging population who will need medical care. As the number of healthcare professionals grows, their administrative affairs will need handling by a growing number of health services managers.