Job Profile: Medical and Health Services Manager

Whenever you make a trip to a hospital, you’ll likely encounter nurses, physicians, and many other healthcare support staff. But, medical and health services managers are working tirelessly behind the scenes to help make sure that you’re receiving the highest quality care possible too. In short, medical and health services managers are given an important senior-level leadership role to direct the delivery of services in physicians’ offices, hospitals, clinics, long-term rehabilitation facilities, outpatient care centers, clinical departments, and more. In a time when the healthcare industry is enduring a slew of dramatic changes, it’s becoming increasingly essential for medical-related organizations to hire talented health services managers to keep costs down without compromising on top-notch patient care.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 300,180 medical and health services managers employed in the United States earn an annual average salary of $101,340, which is equivalent to a mean hourly wage of $48.72. Medical and health services managers working in general medical hospitals earn slightly more at $108,210, but those employed in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry bring home the highest average salaries at $165,400 annually.

Beginning Salary

When just starting in this leadership position, medical and health services managers should expect to land in the bottom 10 percent of the profession at around $55,470 each year. However, it’s important to remember that medical and health services managers can make upwards of $155,130 annually with more experience.

Key Responsibilities

Medical and health service managers are generally given the responsibility of coordinating the healthcare services offered by an entire facility or specific clinical department. On a typical day, a medical service manager may be found creating work schedules, reviewing new legislative regulations, carefully managing patient billing, attending board meetings, maintaining the facility’s service records, and communicating with department heads. Health service managers often play a supervisory role in leading nurses, clinical technicians, physicians, assistant administrators, and other medical staff. Medical and health service managers will likely be involved in overseeing any tasks that will improve the efficiency of patient services.

Necessary Skills

In order to be successful, medical and health services managers must have good interpersonal skills for communicating effectively with other healthcare workers and discussing any staffing issues. Medical and health services managers need solid problem-solving skills to brainstorm innovative solutions that will quickly resolve administrative glitches. Due to the advancement of new healthcare technology, health services managers should have the technical skills to work with electronic health record systems. Medical services managers are also expected to be detail-oriented with good organizational skills to ensure all scheduling and billing information is filed properly for a smooth-running healthcare facility.

Degree and Education Requirements

At the bare minimum, medical and health services managers will need to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Most aspiring health services managers will start their education with an undergraduate major in business administration, health administration, hospital administration, management, or human resources management. From there, it’s common for medical and health services managers to return to graduate school to improve their professional competency. It’s advised that managers specialize their studies to earn a Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Public Health (MPH), or Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in healthcare management. Make certain you fill up on electives related to hospital organization, strategic planning, health law, health economics, accounting, budgeting, human resources, and health information systems.

Pros and Cons of the Position

Working as a medical and health services manager requires a high-level of responsibility, so it’s no surprise that there are both pros and cons. Firstly, health services managers have a very high earning potential that crosses the six-figure salary mark with good benefits. Job security is another plus for medical and health services managers because there’s a growing number of openings available nationwide. Medical and services managers also have the rewarding ability to improve the quality of patient care and motivate healthcare workers with their actions. On the flip side, medical and health services managers typically work longer than an average 40-hour week with some evening, weekend, or overnight hours. Some may find working as a medical services manager to be too stressful, especially when dealing with new complex health laws. Also, most medical and health services managers are forced to receive a graduate degree and maintain licensure with continuing education.

Getting Started

While earning an appropriate education, it’s essential that you start building your resume with hands-on experience in administrative healthcare roles. Most accredited graduate programs will include up to one year of full-time supervised health management experience. You can also get started by finding jobs as a nursing administrator, assistant administrator, medical office manager, or executive assistant. You’ll then likely be promoted to department head before reaching the job title of medical or health services manager. For a faster climb up the ladder, you may want to consider receiving professional certifications. You could become a Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM), Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM), Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional (CHAP), or Certified Nursing Home Administrator (CNHA) depending on your chosen specialty.

Future Outlook

Thanks to the increased access to health insurance and the aging baby boomer population, the healthcare industry as a whole will experience a rapid increase in demand for medical services. Of course, medical and health services managers will also need to be hired to manage healthcare staff and keep medical facilities running smoothly. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of medical and health services managers will skyrocket much faster than average at 23 percent, thus creating 73,300 new jobs by 2022. Medical and health services managers will likely find the most favorable job prospects in medical group practices, physicians’ offices, ambulatory care settings, and outpatient care centers.

Overall, medical and health services managers are often given the hefty task of overseeing millions of dollars’ worth of medical equipment and hundreds of employees to deliver high-quality patient care services. Health services managers work long hours setting health policies, supervising employees, creating budgets, working with doctors, and attending board meetings. If you’re a confident and diplomatic decision maker with excellent communication abilities, you could be the perfect fit for becoming a medical and health services manager to lead healthcare facilities towards improved care.