There is a pressing need for health service managers and healthcare administrators across the country. While these issues were already known before the current crisis, the situation has now been exacerbated, and underserved areas are being affected the most.
However, multiple solutions have been tabled, and there are some efforts to make the profession more attractive to people who want to enter the field. It is also a great option for students who would like to get involved in healthcare without having to deal directly with patients. Let’s take a look at the numbers surrounding this shortage, and what can be done to correct the situation.
The Shortage in Numbers
According to the bureau of labor statistics, more than 70,000 more administrators will be needed by the year 2028. However, these numbers came before the pandemic, so they could be soon revised. Massachusetts is one of the states where the demand is the highest. New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Oregon, and Connecticut are also near the top of the list.
One issue is that faculties are having trouble forming enough people with the qualifications needed, especially when it comes to healthcare finance. The Affordable Healthcare Act has increased the demand for professionals with finance skills who need to be able to adjust to new rules and regulations and insurance schemes.
The Aging Population is Putting Stress on the System
Demographic pressure is also having a massive impact on the healthcare system and will continue to do so for years to come. Here are some of the ways the aging population is affecting healthcare:
- Most instances of chronic diseases
- More hospital admissions
- Greater need for geriatric healthcare professionals
- Greater need for senior nurses
- More demand for at-home services
In addition to this, many areas aren’t prepared to deal with this reality and were already dealing with issues for years. What’s worse is that the elderly living in rural areas tend to be poorer and also have higher incidences of chronic diseases. Their support system is also increasingly shrinking, as younger generations tend to gravitate towards urban hubs for employment.
“Seniors tend to stay put since this is where they’ve lived most of their lives,” said Dakota Health Care Center for Rural Health deputy director Brad Gibbens. “There isn’t any economic beacon that’s pushing them towards urban areas,” he added.
Online Learning Offers a Glimmer of Hope
One area that is promising, however, is the advent of new technologies, especially distance learning. Students can now get an online healthcare administration degree from the comfort of their home from wherever they are in the country. They also have access to a much wider number of institutions and can attend programs from out of state school without having to relocate.
These programs are just as complete and rigorous as traditional programs, provided that they’re accredited by a respected body. More students and employers are embracing online students, and programs have greatly evolved, which makes them an even more attractive option.
More Needs to be Done to Attract Students to the Field
It’s important that students and current professionals working in the field know the benefits of studying healthcare administration. For instance, it could be a great option for senior nurses who need a change of pace or can’t handle their duties anymore. This could also allow them to add a few years to their careers, and make a difference behind the scenes.
The median pay for Medical and Health Services Managers is way higher than the national average at $100,980 which makes them not only some of the most well-paid professionals in healthcare but in the whole country. Health service managers are responsible for:
- Overseeing the recruitment and training of hospital staff
- Maintaining and following records of budgets
- Managing records of the facility, such as patient count
- Creating work schedules
- Coordinating services and delivery of care
- Maintaining communication with directors and medical leadership
This can be a very fulfilling career for people in the field who want to have more responsibilities or those with a management background who would like to be involved in healthcare outside of a clinical role. Those with a healthcare management degree are also in a great position to start and operate their own practice.
While shortages can be felt across the board, the lack of properly trained healthcare administrators is having an impact on many levels. We can only hope that the situation turns around and that more decide to enter the profession in order to fill the gap.