What are the key responsibilities of a Health Administrator? 

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What is Health Administration?

Health administration is like a large canopy as it covers numerous settings and a diverse range of duties and responsibilities. The latter can change depending on the healthcare environment, including general and surgical hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, hospice, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, specialty clinics, ambulatory hospitals, medical research, and more. Within these workplaces, your role will differ according to rank and stature in the organization. A general hospital in a metropolitan area will have multiple layers of administrative staff. Some might specialize in finance, accounting, billing, or patient services – all with the objective of exemplary medical care. In a smaller entity, like a nursing home, one person might handle all administrative functions.

On the Rise

Healthcare is a burgeoning field as the U.S. population continues to age. By 2035, the Census Bureau predicts that there will be 78 million people 65 or older, compared to 76.7 million under 18. By 2030, 20% or one in five Americans will be over 65, according to a January 2021 article in Business Insider. By 2025, U.S. providers could face a shortage of 500,000 home health aides, 100,000 nursing assistants, and 29,000 nurse practitioners. That creates a massive demand for more administrators.

The knowledge you gleaned while completing an associate, bachelor, or master’s degree will directly apply to your responsibilities in healthcare management. Although you typically do not have direct patient care, the decisions, policies, training, staffing, and leadership skills affect a patient’s treatment.

Removing large capacity general hospitals from the equation as they generally have several management positions. For example, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), department administrators, patient care managers, information systems managers, human resources, medical records, facilities, and the list goes on. Each title has specific tasks and duties. However, in a healthcare facility, like a rehabilitation or therapy center, the administrator typically wears more hats. Some of the common ones are:

  • Create work and personal leave scheduling
  • Order supplies as indicated by physicians, nurses, therapists, and technicians
  • Manage budgets and monitor spending
  • Oversee billing, expenses, cash flow, and set financial goals
  • Attract and retain competent medical and support staff
  • Ensure compliance with state and federal regulations and policies
  • Confer with medical staff to discuss needs and grievances
  • Develop and implement marketing strategies
  • Serves as liaison between patients, family members, and staff
  • Manages day-to-day HR issues: training, performance, development
  • Participate in public relations programs and community services
  • Act as coach and counselor for clinical and non-clinical staff
  • Interview and hire new staff members

In the setting where you work in a satellite facility, you will likely report to the Medical Director at the primary operation or office. In this capacity, your duties may include:

  • Collaborates with Medical Director in the preparation of quarterly budgets
  • Recommends funding based on knowledge of policies, costs, and practices
  • Maintains professional certifications and attends national conferences
  • Proposes ideas to develop and institute new products lines or services
  • Communicates frequently with Director of Operations regarding staffing, budgets, compliance reports, and financial statements
  • Knowledge of information systems for billing and collection purposes

The above is from job postings on employment sites like Indeed. If you check this one or others for the category of healthcare administration, you will find thousands in this field. Different job titles come with various responsibilities, although many share vital duties, as outlined above. Samples of the posted positions are:

  • Regional Practice Manager
  • Clinic Supervisor
  • Healthcare Practice Administrator
  • Medical Center Administration
  • Director of Operations (multi-site practice)
  • Surgery Center Administrator
  • Practice Manager Vaccination Center

One  Clinic Administration job in healthcare management provides services to 300 physician practices, 800 clinicians, and 300,000 patients in Florida and Texas. Another seeks a Health Center Administrator Assistant for Walmart Health. Primary duties include overseeing daily operations and maintaining provider, patient, and staff scheduling. The assistant also ensures that the Health Center functions per the Walmart management team and leads policy development and best practices’ procedures.

In Summary

An assortment of job titles translates to multiple and varied duties, responsibilities, and qualifications. From clinics with a handful of medical staff to Methodist Hospital in San Antonio with 1,550 beds, administrators play a vital role in the healthcare system. As with a movie, the director works behind the scene to create the best possible viewing experience. The actors and actresses receive most of the credit – they are the face of the production for the audience. Similarly, the administrator is the invisible person behind the scene, striving to strengthen the patient experience. He or she is the director – the physician is the actor.

Additional Resources:

Top 50 Highest Paying Master’s Degrees

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What certifications are there in Health Administration to help with getting a job in this field?