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I Want a Health Care MBA. Which Concentration Should I Choose?


Thinking about pursuing a health care MBA? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care occupations will add over two million jobs from 2014 to 2024. It follows that there is also a growing demand for professionals to manage health care organizations.

A health care MBA can prepare professionals for these in-demand careers. The University of Cincinnati (UC) offers an online MBA with four health care concentrations:

  • Health Care Administration.
  • Health Care Finance.
  • Health Care Operations.
  • Health Care Policy and Regulation.

A look at each area can help prospective students decide which direction to take.

MBA: Health Care Administration

An MBA with a Health Care Administration concentration may be a good match for those who see themselves leading change in health care systems.

How does UC's program prepare graduates for these management positions? This program blends business management skills with courses that cover the organization of health care systems and the delivery of health care.

Examples of careers in health care administration include:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO, also President): A CEO leads, manages and administers overall operations of a health care facility. CEOs may also serve on the board of directors.
  • Practice Supervisor (also Practice Manager): A practice supervisor may work in a group practice, health care practitioner's office or hospital department. Key responsibilities include implementing policies and procedures to ensure optimal day-to-day performance.
  • Nursing Home Administrator: Administration of a nursing facility may involve both clinical and administrative duties. Examples include quality of care, facility operations, budget preparation, regulatory compliance and employee performance.

MBA: Health Care Finance

How do payment policies influence delivery of care? What ethical and legal considerations factor into financial decision-making in health care? The field of health care finance involves diverse considerations.

As with other health care concentrations, students in UC's MBA with a concentration in Health Care Finance program gain core business skills. They also develop strategic leadership skills in the financial and managerial aspects of health care organizations and an analytical framework for decision-making.

Examples of career opportunities follow:

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO): A CFO of a hospital, for example, oversees all financial activities. This includes accounting, financial planning, budgets, financial leadership of department heads, and preparation of reports and financial statements.
  • Director of Finance, Medical Group (such as Family Medicine): Typical activities include oversight of day-to-day finance operations, financial planning, tax compliance, preparation of annual budget, and financial projections, analysis and reporting.
  • Director, Accounts Receivable (A/R): This position oversees medical billing A/R requirements, such as submission of claims and analysis of denied claims. This position may also support operational efficiencies and compliance.

MBA: Health Care Operations

Why might expanding capacity not be the answer to emergency room bottlenecks? This typifies the logistical questions that health care operations professionals tackle as they work to improve efficiencies, services and financial performance.

When it comes to the operations side of health care, strategic thinking is key. Students in UC's MBA with a concentration in Health Care Operations program develop the knowledge and skills needed to improve delivery of health care services. The program places an emphasis on strategic leadership and evidence-based decision-making. 

What kinds of jobs are available in health care operations?

  • Chief Operating Officer (COO, also Director of Operations): A COO might work in a hospital, community health center, medical practice or other health care facility. The COO carries out the organization's business plan or, as a Hospital and Health Networks article explains, makes sure all the "moving parts" work together.
  • Director, Health Plan Operations: An operations director establishes and implements policies and procedures to enhance provider and patient satisfaction. Activities include identifying and implementing strategies to streamline and improve processes.
  • Health Care Operations Consultant: An operations consultant works with clients to provide solutions in wide-ranging areas of health care. Examples include supply chain management, staffing structures, surgical services and patient satisfaction.

MBA: Health Care Policy and Regulation

Health care systems are growing increasingly complex, with oversight at federal, state and local levels. How do health care organizations keep up with laws governing reimbursement or privacy concerns with Electronic Health Records (EHRs)?

This is where policy and regulation professionals come in. Like UC's other health care MBAs, the Health Care Policy and Regulation concentration includes MBA program coursework. Core courses in health care and policy regulation develop understanding of the law as it relates to health care and provide students with the skills to organize, manage and regulate services.

Career options in health care policy and regulation include the following:

  • Chief Compliance Officer (CCO): A CCO ensures the organization's compliance with laws and regulations, as well as internal policies and procedures. Activities include developing an effective compliance plan and overseeing compliance audits. 
  • Compliance and Privacy Specialist: This position involves ensuring compliance with laws and regulations. Activities include developing and implementing risk assessment and internal audits, monitoring compliance with policies and procedures and implementing corrective actions.
  • Senior Compliance Consultant, Heath Care Plans: A compliance consultant partners with clients to achieve compliance objectives. In addition to identifying compliance risks, a consultant may implement processes and training to meet regulatory requirements.

An MBA with a Health Care concentration can lead to satisfying and financially rewarding careers. The day-to-day work may vary depending on the area of concentration, as well as the size and type of the organization. But a common goal connects them all: to lead health care organizations in improving health outcomes.

Learn more about the University of Cincinnati's online Health Care MBA programs.


Sources:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Healthcare Occupations

CareerOneStop: U.S. Department of Labor

Hospitals & Health Networks: Focus on the C-Suite: Integrator in Chief


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