“Health Services Administrator” is a vague title. While it can be confusing, it does not intend to be unclear. Instead, it reflects the expansive nature of the health services administration field. Yet, for graduates, it represents opportunity. Let us take a closer look at what health services administrators do and the education it takes to earn that position.
What Does a Health Services Administrator Do?
Health services administrators direct the delivery of medical services from the business side of the medical facility. It’s a non-clinical role focused on the managerial aspects of healthcare.
Roles vary based on where you work and which healthcare services you administer, but key responsibilities include:
Health services administrators manage their department or organization’s financial stability.
Their focus includes:
• Financial risk assessment
• Short- and long-term budgeting
• Resource allocation
• Financial Reporting
• Tax planning
• Securing funding for capital improvements
• Collaborating with clinical and administrative staff to ensure fiscal responsibility
• Analyzing operational processes for cost savings
A business’s sustainability relies on vision. Health services administrators develop and implement strategic plans for healthcare institutions based on leading market indicators.
As the creative forces behind the success of their organizations, they:
• Conduct assessments of internal and external factors affecting organizational goals
• Analyze industry trends in a competitive landscape
• Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to inform planning
• Allocate financial, human, and technological resources to support strategic initiatives
• Assign responsibilities and allocate resources for each project
• Define and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress
• Develop risk management strategies to mitigate uncertainties
• Convey planning objectives to stakeholders
• Prepare staff for organizational changes
• Promote a culture of teamwork and shared responsibility
• Evaluate the effectiveness of strategic planning, pivoting when necessary
Health services administrators oversee regulatory compliance within healthcare facilities. This oversight includes adhering to accreditation and best practice standards. They create a safe, low-liability environment by developing sound policies that guide clinical and non-clinical staff in their roles.
The work includes:
• Managing data security measures
• Ensure proper record retention and disposal procedures
• Developing emergency response plans
• Incident reporting
• Implementing workplace safety protocols
• Preparing for accreditation surveys
• Educating staff about regulatory changes and updates
Health services administrators recruit, hire, train, and supervise employees, from upper-level managers to support staff. Potential job titles range from Human Resources Manager to VP of Recruitment.
Depending on your role, you may:
• Advertise job openings and coordinate recruitment efforts
• Develop job descriptions
• Review resumes, conduct interviews, and select qualified candidates
• Determine compensation packages
• Facilitate new employee orientation programs
• Create and manage staff schedules
• Identify training needs and develop relevant programs
• Establish ADA and workplace accommodation policies
• Mediate labor disputes and employee complaints
• Promote a positive and inclusive workplace culture
• Organize team-building and motivational activities
• Implement strategies to boost employee morale
• Administer employee benefits programs
• Source worker’s compensation insurance
• Manage employee terminations, resignations, layoffs, and disciplinary actions
• Ensure adherence to labor laws and regulations related to employee rights and responsibilities
Health services administrators coordinate the day-to-day operations within healthcare facilities.
Duties may include:
• Coordinating the maintenance and upkeep of the physical facility and grounds
• Overseeing repairs, renovations, and maintenance projects
• Managing the inventory, maintenance, and replacement of medical equipment and supplies
• Negotiating supply contracts with vendors
• Implementing waste disposal and recycling programs
• Developing security measures to protect patients, staff, and assets
• Managing data access control systems and visitor protocols
• Optimizing the use of facility space
• Conducting safety inspections
• Utility management
• Implementing technological integration
Patient Care Coordination
As part of the management team, health services administrators ensure patients receive appropriate care through leadership and supervision.
• Align patient care goals with the organization’s overall mission
• Develop policies and protocols related to patient care coordination
• Allocate resources to support patient care coordination efforts
• Optimize staffing levels and technology investments to improve outcomes
• Implement performance improvement strategies for care coordination processes
• Foster collaboration among different departments
• Facilitate communication between clinical and administrative teams
• Collaborate with community organizations and external partners to enhance care coordination
• Manage the budget for care coordination initiatives
• Identify and implement risk prevention strategies
• Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate care coordination effectiveness
• Ensure compliance with clinical regulations and accreditation standards
• Provide opportunities for training, education, and skill enhancement among clinical staff
Where Does a Health Services Administrator Work?
Healthcare services administrators work in a broad range of settings under hundreds of potential job titles. Role and responsibilities depend on the type of organization, size, and the administrator’s area of expertise.
Consider these options:
Healthcare administrators work in various hospital departments, from administration and operation to finance, human resources, and patient services. They ensure efficient operations, manage staff and collaborate with medical professionals to provide the highest-quality patient care.
Clinics and Outpatient Centers
Responsibilities in these settings are similar to those in hospitals but are generally less complex because of fewer urgent care needs. These locations are good proving grounds for new graduates seeking entry-level roles.
Long-term Care Facilities
Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation centers employ healthcare administrators to oversee finances, manage resident care and ensure regulatory compliance. The focus, however, is on supporting residential living, requiring a unique perspective on strategic planning and financial stability.
Large healthcare systems encompassing multiple facilities hire administrators to manage system-wide strategic planning and resource allocation. As a group, they occupy upper management positions and leadership roles from VP to CEO.
Home Healthcare Agencies
Administrators in home healthcare agencies coordinate services for patients receiving medical services at home. Unlike similar roles, it involves greater community outreach and relationship development.
Healthcare Consulting Firms
Administrators with specific skills may find roles with consulting agencies. In-demand areas of expertise include operational improvement, regulatory compliance, and clinical management. Candidates with a clinical or financial management background are encouraged to apply. In this role, you will guide multiple healthcare organizations.
Healthcare Technology Companies
Administrators working with technology firms help healthcare organizations upgrade and adapt to the latest tech, from billing management software to telehealth platforms.
Local, state, and federal government healthcare agencies hire administrators to manage healthcare programs. You could choose a role as a compliance officer or work in public health overseeing disease prevention and health education programs.
Some administrators work in academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, or research institutions, managing the administrative aspects of research projects, grant applications, and clinical trials.
Pharmaceutical and Medical Equipment Companies
Health services administrators with an aptitude for science can build careers at pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies, spearheading product development while managing sales and regulatory compliance.
Experienced healthcare administrators are recruited by universities and colleges as educators to teach healthcare management and administration to students pursuing degrees in the field. You could put your talents to work, preparing the next generation of healthcare leaders for emerging challenges.
How Can I Become a Health Services Administrator?
Health services administrators need comprehensive education in the healthcare field. The minimum qualifications for an entry-level role include a master’s degree from an accredited university.
What Do I Learn in a Health Services Administration Master’s Degree Program?
Programs prepare future administrators for leadership roles in the healthcare industry, providing the knowledge and skills upon which you can build a successful career. Learning includes classroom instruction and real-world experiences.
The broad-based curriculum covers these topics and more:
Healthcare Economics and Financial Oversight
• The healthcare revenue cycle
• Healthcare financing and reimbursement models
• Private and government insurance programs
• Budgeting, financial analysis, and resource allocation
• Cost containment strategies
• Long-term financial planning
Health Policy and Patient Advocacy
• Policy development and implementation
• Patient, staff, and community advocacy
• Healthcare equity and accessibility
• Vulnerable population
• Legal and ethical considerations in healthcare administration
Healthcare Leadership and Management
• Strategic thinking, planning, and implementation
• Developing and executing organizational strategies
• Aligning strategic goals with organizational visions
• Leadership styles, theories, and best practices
• Motivational strategies and communication skills
• Organizational behavior and change management
• Group dynamics
Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
• Quality assurance methodologies
• Patient safety initiatives, risk management, and error prevention strategies
• Evidence-based practices
• Root cause analysis
• Data-driven decision-making
• Performance metrics and benchmarks
• Quality Reporting
• Process improvement methods
Health Informatics and Technology
• Health information exchange networks
• Data analytics, integrity, and interconnectivity
• Clinical decision support systems
• Telemedicine technologies
• Population health management
• Health information security
• Artificer intelligence and machine learning in healthcare
• Vision and mission statements
• SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals
• SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis
• Marketing trends and competitive dynamics
• Diversification and innovation
• Action planning
• Project management
• Resource allocation
• Stakeholder involvement
• Community engagement
Healthcare Marketing and Communication
• Branding and reputation management
• Community identity
• Service promotion
• Digital marketing
• Interprofessional collaboration
• Cultural sensitivity
• Internal communication
• Emergency planning
• Workplace culture
• Human resource planning and development
• Workforce shortages
• Recruitment and retention strategies
• Diversity and inclusion in the workforce
• Compensation models,
• Benefits, recognition, and rewards
• Staff training and education
Healthcare Law and Regulatory Compliance
• Healthcare policy developments
• HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
• Start Laws and anti-kickback statutes
• EMTALA ((Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act)
• FDA regulations
• CLIA ((Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments)
• Litigation management
• Conflicts of interest
• Professional Boundaries
Ethics and Decision-Making
• Ethical and decision-making frameworks
• End-of-life care issues
• Patient confidentiality and informed consent
• Right-to-try interventions
• Organ transplantation
• Powers-of-attorney, advanced directives, and medical guardianship
• Resource allocation in scarcity
• Triage and decision-making
Healthcare Policy Analysis and Development
• Policy impact studies
• Cost-benefit analysis
• Value-based healthcare initiatives
• Public health policy integration
• Ethical policy-making
• Stakeholder engagement
Students must complete an end-of-program capstone project that collates and demonstrates the breadth of their knowledge and skills. It is a chance to spread your wings before you fly. Let a course inspire you or explore a topic off the beaten path. By graduation day, you will feel like an empowered professional.
Few healthcare careers offer as much flexibility as health services administration. As the healthcare system expands, more opportunities exist to reach your potential in a role that fits your strengths and interests. With a master’s degree, you can chart your course, enjoying the rewards while supporting your community and building your legacy.
Eager to Learn More?
The Master of Health Services Administration program provides high-quality professional education to assist executives and prepare the new generation of healthcare professionals to be part of leading positions in the healthcare industry’s administration, management, and planning in either the public or private sector.
If you are interested in being a Health Services Administrator, let Florida National University answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to learn more about our Health Services Administration programs.