Healthcare facilities spend millions of dollars every year on medical malpractice claims, workers compensation injuries and insurance. Therefore, they often hire healthcare risk management managers to help them minimize the risk of medical errors, financial mistakes, accidents and other adverse events that may cause them to lose money. Healthcare risk management managers perform a variety of functions related to mitigating the potential risks and liabilities a facility might be facing. They work together with other administrators to achieve their goals. They often have a strong knowledge of hospital procedures and policies.
A majority of healthcare professionals work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and clinics. Others may find employment in nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies. Their work begins from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Monday to Friday. They mainly perform administrative duties, so they have minimal direct contact with patients.
Healthcare risk management managers take home an average salary of $75,174 in a year. Those who are experienced and work for large healthcare facilities earn as high as $105,000.
The beginning salary for healthcare risk managers is $50,000 per year.
Healthcare risk management managers help healthcare facilities prevent certain risks from occurring. In order to do this, they perform the following duties;
• Review past incidences, claims and liability reports to identify the risks the facility is facing.
• Conduct research on various risks and file reports of the findings to the management.
• Provide recommendations and solutions to immediate problems.
• Create a risk management plan to help avert future problems.
• Conduct risk management training to other staff members.
• Develop new policies and procedures.
• Monitor the actions of other staff or their work environment to see if they comply with the existing policies and procedures.
As a risk manager in a healthcare facility, you must have financial acumen. This will help you understand different financial indicators related to the facility’s assets, business lines, markets, regulations and stakeholders and design preventive strategies to reduce losses. Apart from financial acumen, you need strong analytical skills and attention to detail to help you identify and understand hidden and complex risks. You also need to have an extensive knowledge of the industry. The healthcare industry is very dynamic, with new risks emerging every day. Other essentials skills are strong problem-solving and decision-making abilities, the ability to work under pressure and good communication and presentation skills.
Career and Educational Requirements
You need at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management or healthcare administration to get a job as a risk manager. The degree usually takes four years to complete. You will learn topics such as patient safety, corporate compliance, risk financing, insurance and contracts, enterprise risk management and employment risks. In addition to the coursework, you will be required to complete a risk management project and an internship program.
Since healthcare risk management is an administrative position, many employers prefer applicants who have master’s degrees. You can pursue Master of Science in Healthcare Management or Master in Healthcare Administration. All these programs will expose you to advanced training in strategic planning, budgeting, human resource, policy-making and hospital organization.
Pros and Cons of Being a Healthcare Risk Management Manager
There are benefits you will get while working as a healthcare risk management manager. For instance, you will have complete access to every department within the facility. Such access will expose you to so many new things, enabling you to acquire more knowledge in the process. Working as a healthcare risk management will earn you a lot of respect not only from your juniors but also from the management. You will also benefit from a decent salary, great working environment and increased opportunities for career advancement.
You will also experience some challenges. For example, you will have to work under pressure to meet the deadlines and deal with volatile situations. You will also create a lot of enemies, from the junior staff members to the management. This is because some people don’t like to be audited or told to comply with certain rules. They will deliberately break the rules and refuse audits to test your patience.
Healthcare risk management is not an entry-level position, meaning you have to start somewhere lower. You can start as a risk analyst, secretary or even as a nurse and work your way to the top. In order to get a decent job, you need to have at least five years of experience working as a risk analyst and manager. Make sure you gain such experience in a healthcare facility accredited by the state government.
In addition to work experience, you need to obtain certain certifications to help you qualify for more lucrative positions. You can pursue a certification from the Professional Association of Healthcare Office Management or the American Hospital Association (AHA). The AHA, for instance, provides a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management certification.
Future Career Outlook
The healthcare industry is becoming complex. New trends emerge every day, making it hard for healthcare facilities to keep up to speed with new risks. Hospitals and private clinics are expected to hire more risk managers to help them prevent problems. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the employment rate of risk managers is expected to increase by 7 percent in the next one decade. The demand will be mainly influenced by the increased number of risks facing the industry. Some of the risks include data breaches and network interruptions, medical malpractice claims, financial losses, workers compensation injuries and workplace violence.
However, aspiring healthcare risks management managers should expect stiff job competition. Healthcare risk management is very popular and attracts a lot of students. The numbers of students who graduate will most likely increase by a bigger margin in the coming years, flooding the job market in the process. You can avert such competition and improve your prospects by pursuing a master’s degree or certification.
In summary, a healthcare risk management manager reduces or eliminates the potential risks that might affect a healthcare facility. Without him, a facility may lose money in medical malpractice claims, financial misappropriation, workers compensation injuries, legal battles and many other scenarios. You need at least a bachelor’s degree, strong analytical and decision-making skills and a considerable amount of work experience to secure a job as a healthcare risk management manager.