Changes to technology and the addition of rules, regulation, and legislation, along with a changing economy and growing population, create a unique situation in the field of health care. As these changes continue, the role of administrators in a variety of health care settings will also continue to change. Whether in a position at a hospital, medical clinic, nursing home, insurance company, or medical supply company, health care administration professionals will need to adapt. The new Affordable Care Act is one of the changes that will create those adaptations in the health care administration field.
The Role of Health Care Administrators
The role of health care administration professionals varies depending on the position and workplace setting. In some cases, health care administrators oversee the operations of an entire facility, while in other positions the operations of a single department are managed. Some departments that are commonly managed by health care administrators include nursing, information systems, human resources, admissions, medical records, and finance.
In any case, health care administrators are ultimately responsible for planning and delivering quality medical care, equipment, services, or supplies. Health care administrators work to evaluate and make changes to the delivery of care or services, to monitor and implement technology in the delivery of care, and to stay up-to-date on and understand all changes in regulations and legislation, in addition to many other tasks and responsibilities.
Health Care Administration Education and Skills
At a minimum, health care administration professionals will need a bachelor’s degree. In addition to prerequisite and general education courses, students in these programs will complete a variety of coursework to help with the management of medical and health care settings. These courses include health care financial administration, health care policy, long-term care administration, and health facility operations.
Health care administrators must also be skilled in areas of management. From creating policy and developing budgets to managing personnel and patient records, professionals in this field must be able to make decisions, implement changes, and manage staff across a variety of departments and specialties in order to deliver high quality care and medical services to patients and consumers.
The Affordable Care Act
The latest change to the health care industry is the Affordable Care Act. This legislation is intended to provide the accessibility of health care, the affordability of services and treatments, and high quality care to all patients. Essentially, the law is meant to re-design health insurance coverage to ensure that patients with pre-existing conditions are able to obtain care, and that health benefits are available to everyone, including through an expansion of Medicaid and improvement of Medicare. Preventative care is also expanded under the new legislation.
For health care administrators, this means a new role in helping patients and health care facilities to coordinate with the changes to insurance in order to provide the highest quality care possible. Health care administrators will likely be expected to have training and an expert understanding of not only how the new legislation will change delivery of care, but also how to help patients receive that care and coverage and operate within changes to the budget and financial structure.
The Affordable Care Act creates even more of a need for highly qualified administrators. With new legislation, regulation, and changes in everything from technology to insurance coverage throughout the health care industry, the necessity for well-prepared and knowledgeable administrators continues to be in high demand.