Hospitals and other medical facilities have evolved into very complex enterprises that have to make million dollar budget decisions on a regular basis. Nowadays they generally want business managers with specialized knowledge of the health care system to be in charge of everything from staff budgeting and insurance payment management to making decisions about whether or not a new diagnostic machine should be purchased for a particular department.
Demand for specialists with an MBA in Healthcare Management is likely to grow as new government programs, medical treatments and legal issues continue to emerge at a rapid pace, and as the U.S. population ages and demands more and more medical care. Many business managers already established in hospitals, in fact, are finding that their employers want them to go back to school for a health management MBA if they don’t already have one.
Medical Strategy & Finance
Some of the key topics you will be trained in with this type of MBA program include health law and ethics and a variety of organizational subjects like health care strategies, worldwide health systems and hospital financing. The goal is to gain a broad understanding of how to manage the interplay between medical care and finance, and to be deal with the relationships between all the key players in the hospital environment. It’s important to be able to work with patients, doctors, nurses, maintenance staff and the wide variety of social workers and other allied health practitioners who are involved in patient care today. Leadership, communication skills, dispute mediation and technology assessment are all important skills for a medical business director.
Job Functions & Salaries
Large hospitals tend to hire MBA healthcare management graduates to work in a central business office, where there’s little direct contact with patients. Becoming a business manager in a smaller hospital, health clinic or even a large medical office could give you more direct involvement in the issues that arise between doctors and patients. It’s a career specialty where you can earn anywhere from $50,000. per year to over $130,000., with a possibility of an even higher salary if you become one of the top two or three business managers of a very large hospital (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Some examples of job listings for someone with an MBA specialized in health care management:
- “Director of health economics” at a hospital. Functions include doing regular in-depth analysis on the trends emerging at the hospital in medical costs, utilization of equipment and other resources, management of finances by various initiatives and working on the pricing of products for Medicare and other health insurers.
- “Health data analyst” for a health insurer. Collecting and analyzing data that can be used by senior officers to make business decisions on how effectively costs and quality of care is being managed in the insurer’s network of customers. This is an associate-level position for someone who is relatively new to the industry.
- “Director of health and wellness” for a medical insurance company. The job involves choosing and managing relationships with external vendors who are brought in to promote the company’s services. Oversight of the delivery of tools like cost calculators, quality comparison tools and secure messaging to end-users, and managing relationships among employees, regulators and accreditation agencies.
- “Chief operating officer” for two hospitals owned by the same company. Position requires someone who can enable both hospitals to reach certain financial objectives by seeing to it that all departments achieve their individual goals. Involves analyzing the performance of patient rehabilitation centers, laboratories, diagnostic sections and even construction management. This is a very senior position that would require a good deal of experience.