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What is Healthcare Administration?

Healthcare administration is a high demand occupation in Wisconsin and across most of the US. The average salary for Health administrators in Wisconsin is about $119,200. In Wisconsin, health care reform is a major topic of public concern, healthcare reform under the Affordable Care Act created a larger pool of insured residents. The increase in insurance coverage combined with the aging population caused a steady increase in demand for healthcare services. With the increased demand for services comes a need for more highly trained professionals to lead healthcare organizations.

The state’s hospitals gained recognition for high value and high-quality services. Like many states, Wisconsin’s healthcare delivery system has suffered from a lack of qualified leaders for professional positions in health administration and management. The emphasis on value in healthcare steps away from the traditional models that emphasized volume over quality. Value-based assessment creates new demands for planning, management, and resource allocation.

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Healthcare Administration Education in Wisconsin

Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration (BSHCA)

The typical degree program requires four years of attendance or 120 semester hours of study. Most Wisconsin undergrad programs accept an associate degree in place of general undergraduate course requirements. An associate degree can reduce the semester hours and time needed by as much as one-third to one-half.

Bachelor’s Degree Curriculum

The standard core curriculum for bachelor’s degrees in health administration include the below-listed subjects and areas.

  • Healthcare services marketing management
  • Knowledge of information management systems
  • Human resource management in healthcare organizations
  • Healthcare public policy, law, and regulations.

A bachelor’s degree in health administration is a qualifying educational level for the entry-level position; it is a stepping stone to mid-level health administration positions.

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  • BSHA is the Bachelor of Science in Health Administration. This degree has a core that includes science, computer-based studies, and quantitative analysis.
  • BBA is the Bachelor of Business Administration. This business-based curriculum adds a concentration in Health Administration or Health Management.

Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA)

The master’s degree in health administration is the optimal professional credential; the master’s training prepares students to work and develop in the rapidly changing healthcare environment. The Master of Health Administration enables individuals to compete for senior-level positions such as medical director, director of finance, director of operations, and C-suite positions like Chief Operating Officer (COO).

The educational plan must prepare students for a wide range of roles in managing healthcare systems and overseeing health care providers. The typical core curriculum of a master’s degree in health administration includes study in the below-described subject areas.

  • Human resource management
  • Information systems management
  • Healthcare Marketing management
  • Accounting for managers
  • Healthcare administration law and regulation

Careers and Salary Outlook

Career Options

The below-listed items are sample job postings for Wisconsin Health Care Administration jobs.

  • Senior Administrator, Primary Care

    The Senior Administrator of Primary Care reports to the Vice President of Operations. Master’s degree in business or healthcare administration with seven to ten years of healthcare management experience.

  • Health Services Administrator

    This position is a nursing services administration assignment. The Health Services Administrator (HSA) manages and evaluates the Health Care Delivery Program in accordance with State and other government regulations. He or she must ensure medical, dental, and mental health program activities have goals, objectives, aims, and policies and procedures that comply with ACA, NCCHC and State accreditation standards. The position requires three or more years’ experience with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, health administration, business administration, or health-related field.

  • Public Health Administrator

    This position is the County's top health officer; he or she must enforce applicable state laws, administrative rules, local ordinances, and regulations. This official serves as liaison on issues related to local environmental and public health between state and local elected officials, regional public health staff, and the community. The incumbent directs the work of and manages the staff of the Division. The position requires a master’s degree in Public Health, Nursing, Environmental Health, Public Administration or a related field., and six years of professional public health experience. Applicants can substitute any combination of education and experience that meets the qualifications under Wisconsin Statutes, Section 251.06.

  • Manager of Health Information Management

    ,The Manager of Health Information Management (Mgr.-HIM) has responsibility for operational functions, plans, implementation of the hospital healthcare information management services. These duties include rural health clinics. Education required - bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, health information management, healthcare informatics, computer science, business or related field.

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Prominent Employers in Wisconsin

The large employers in Wisconsin are hospitals, medical care systems, and universities.

  • The Children’s Hospital and Health System

    in Milwaukee offers specialized care for children and childhood illnesses. The system as an extensive outreach into schools and other healthcare organizations to serve the children and area families.

  • Aurora Health Systems consists of Aurora Psychiatric Hospital,

    in Wauwatosa, the Aurora Sanai Medical Center in Milwaukee, and the Aurora Medical Centers in Grafton, Summit, and Hartford. They also include Aurora’s St. Luke’s Medical Centers in Milwaukee, South Shore, Cudahy, and Aurora West Allis Medical Center in West Allis.

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  • Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Community Memorial Hospital

    in Menomonee Falls the Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, and the Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend.

Health Administration Associations

Healthcare organization and professional associations in Wisconsin help provide needed energy of advocacy and public awareness. Professional associations provide a support system for health administrators, and resources to advance health careers. Associations provide forums to network with industry peers and leaders. Associations offer educational resources to stay current on healthcare trends and information.

  • Wisconsin Hospital Association

    is the leading advocacy arm for Wisconsin hospitals. They advocate for the legal protection of hospitals and medical professionals and greater value in medical care. The association promotes accountability and the emphasis on patient outcomes, or value.

  • Wisconsin Health Care Association

    is an organization dedicated to the advancement of quality care in long-term care facilities and post-acute care. They also have a branch dedicated to assisted living to protect the interests of frail and elderly residents.

  • Wisconsin Public Health Association

    is the state affiliate if the American Public Health Association. This well-established group advocates for public health resources and effectiveness. The group represents public health professionals throughout the state and in various forms of public, non-profit, private, and commercial healthcare service organizations. They advocate for universal access to health care without regard to ability to pay and health conditions. The group promotes prevention and wellness.

  • Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative

    is a cooperative organization that focuses on rural areas in the state. Rural regions pose unique problems for health care coverage due to sparse populations and distances. The RWHC provides cooperative structures to maximize the benefits of rural clinics and hospitals. The association is an active advocate for better health in Wisconsin’s rural communities.

About Health Administration

Health administration has two related branches. First, health administrators usually function in the areas of service personnel, support personnel, and coordination. They focus on medical care and the people that deliver it. Health administration includes nurses, doctors, technicians, and specialists needed to meet the needs of the population served by the institution. The organization's resources include its highly trained staff and the personnel that support them. The administrator must allocate resources and maximize the benefits from their usage.

The health manager role involves the organization as a business entity. It must recruit, train, and replace staff as needed. They must plan to integrate new equipment and advances, and innovations. The management function must ensure the physical location meets codes and has a design that is safe and effective. Management involves working with stakeholders including the community in which the organization provides services. The health management role includes the operation of medical services but from the vantage of costs, resources, compliance with responsibilities, and organizational goals. Running a healthcare organization requires intimate knowledge of the many medical processes that comprise the organization’s services.

Admission Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement for admission to the master’s in health administration. Most schools require a degree from an accredited institution. Many applicants have degrees in healthcare or some related field. Degrees in other fields can qualify particularly in fields like finance, business, computer studies, and accounting. These fields mesh with health administration which involves many other disciplines. A large number of master’s candidates are from the ranks of healthcare professionals. They represent a wide range of specialties including nursing, psychiatric fields, and various types of medicine. For persons previously engaged as healthcare workers or professionals, the Master of Health Administration opens new career possibilities for advancement and new fields.

Other minimum requirements for admission into a master’s degree in health administration include letters of recommendation, a satisfactory undergraduate GPA, qualifying GRE scores, successful Admission interviews, and approved essays.

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Master of Health Administration Structure and Design

The Master of Health Administration is a popular degree, and the high demand spurred colleges and universities to offer a range of options. Students can select programs that match their preliminary career plans. For example, some students prefer to attend in person in a traditional classroom and campus setting. They can enjoy the benefits of interaction with student communities. Persons in established careers may prefer the executive style Master of Health Administration. These programs cater to people that prefer to attend part-time while maintaining jobs or businesses. They offer flexible models for curriculum and attendance. Executive programs often require some experience in health administration or a related field. Some institutions prefer incoming students that have experience in a healthcare discipline such as nursing, therapy, or research.

The precise structure and content of a master’s program in health administration depend on the institution and its policies. The essential elements prepare students to administer health service organizations or manage health systems. Wisconsin colleges and universities offer various forms of the master’s in health administration; this range includes attended campus education, remote learning, and online formats. The below-listed items describe some of the typical forms.

  • MPH is the Master of Public Health
  • MBA/HA is a Master of Business Administration with a course focus in Health Administration
  • MHSA is the Master of Health Services Administration
  • MHA is the Master of Healthcare Administration
  • MPA/HA is a Master of Public Administration with a course focus in Health Administration
  • MPH is the Master of Public Health

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