Health care administrators oversee delivery of
health care at all type of healthcare facilities.
The administrator must see that all necessary
elements are available to provide the best patient care, while interpreting
and ensuring compliance with laws that affect healthcare providers,
administrators and organizations. The administrator works closely
with the institution's governing board and medical staff to address
current and future space needs and to develop plans, policies, and
procedures and ensure they are carried out. Budget responsibility,
including establishing patient fee schedules and billing procedures,
are also the administrator’s responsibility. The administrator
may hire, train, and supervise staff, purchase supplies and equipment,
prepare official reports. The administrator is normally the institution's
representative to outside organizations such as civic organizations,
businesses, and other health groups.
Health Care Administrator
Since much of the job of an administrator
consists of dealing with people, important assets include leadership
qualities, tact, sympathy, self-control, and the ability to withstand
the pressure and stress of a demanding job.
Areas of Specialization
Specific duties may vary with types of facilities—from hospitals,
medical group practices, and outpatient clinics to health maintenance
organizations. A large specialty area is nursing homes. The same
skills are needed by nursing home administrators; but they are typically
more involved in management detail due to smaller administrative
staffs. Since nursing home residents also tend to be long term,
creation of an environment to nourish residents' overall health
demands more attention.
In smaller hospitals and nursing homes, health care administrators
personally coordinate the day-to-day activities that make the organization
run smoothly. In larger organizations there may be a staff of assistant
administrators who direct specific aspects of the daily operation
and report to a chief administrator. Most administrators have their
own offices in comfortable surroundings. They often work long hours
as these health facilities operate around the clock and the administrator
must be available to make decisions in case of emergency. Travel
is often involved to attend meetings or to inspect other facilities.
The number of Medical and Health Services Managers in Florida is
expected to grow at an annual average rate of 2.5% (247 positions
per year) through the year 2014 as health services expand and diversify.
Length of Training/Requirements
A minimum of a bachelor's degree in business, health administration,
or a related field is required. Most employers require a master's
degree in health care administration, hospital administration, public
health, or business administration. Competition for entry into these
graduate programs is keen and applicants need above average grades
to be accepted. The graduate program is generally a two-year program
with academic course work and supervised practical training as an
administrative resident. Certificate programs are available for
those students holding degrees in related fields.
Health care administrators sometimes begin their careers in small
hospitals and advance by shifting to larger health care facilities.
They may also begin their careers as assistants in a large medical
institution in order to gain experience and advance by moving into
more responsible, higher paying positions.
Licensure is not required in most areas of health care administration,
except for nursing home or long-term care administration. Licensure
is required in the state of Florida for nursing home administrators.
Candidates for licensure must meet the education requirements set
by the Florida State Board of Nursing Home Administrators, which
is regulated by the Department of Health, and must pass state and
national examinations. Continuing education hours are required every
two years for relicensure.