By Christina Thielst According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medical and health services manager job outlook is growing at an average rate of 17 percent, much faster than the average job outlook. Due in part to the 11,000 baby boomers who are aging into Medicare daily and/or retiring from careers in health administration, this dramatic growth in seniors will contribute to a tremendous increase in utilization of healthcare services. Efforts to balance resources – the push to reduce costs, create new payment models and increase pricing transparency – are also contributing to the job growth. Healthcare Financial Managers Financial managers plan, direct and coordinate the financial aspects of medical and health services. They are responsible for the financial health of an organization and produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization. In any industry, the job outlook for financial managers is growing at a rate of 7 percent, the average rate for job growth. This means that the true job growth rate for healthcare financial managers is probably between 7 and 17 percent. Job title keywords for this position might include: Accounting/Accountant Accounts Payable/Receivable Analyst Auditor Billing Bookkeeper Budget Collections Compliance Contract Controller Data Financial/Finance Insurance Investment Patient Accounts Payroll Pricing Reimbursement Revenue Cycle Healthcare Administrators Healthcare administrators... will be expected to innovate and solve business challenges.... Healthcare administrators who specialize in financial management will be expected to innovate and solve business challenges, including emerging issues listed below. Implementing technologies to leverage data currently being collected by multiple systems to create more robust and useful reports on departmental and organization expenses and revenues Partnering with operations and clinical staff to analyze data and determine what is says about the opportunities for improvement and threats to the organization’s financial health Supporting physicians who are beginning to feel the financial pinch of value-based purchasing Working with clinical and operational managers to find innovative and cost-effective ways to connect with patients and extend care out beyond traditional encounters Analyzing opportunities to outsource or establish collaborative partnerships with other types of provider organizations Establishing a more precise understanding of costs to help leaders better estimate the costs of caring for specific populations and make more informed decisions on financial risk Finding creative and innovative ways to help the organization tolerate risks Establishing more precise charges and rates, especially for consumers who are increasingly assuming more responsibility for the cost of their healthcare Helping consumers understand their healthcare costs Adopting tools to increase convenience for patients with billing and payment to avoid bad debt Financial managers must have good interpersonal skills and must be able to work closely with operations and clinical staff. These administrative roles and educational requirements usually include at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, although some entry-level positions may only require a certificate in healthcare management. Leadership and executive roles will most often require a master’s in healthcare management. Salaries can range from $31,750 for an entry-level billing support specialist to more than $200,000 for a chief financial officer. Exact salary ranges for any position vary based on factors such as the size of the organization, geographical location, scope of responsibilities and/or educational requirements. Online degrees are particularly well-suited for those who are already working in the field and are wanting to move into higher level roles with additional responsibilities and authority. The flexibility that comes with earning your degree online allows those who have family and professional obligations to still advance their education and attain their goals. It’s also a good option for those working in finance or other industries who want to shift into the field of healthcare administration and is ideal for anyone geographically distant from traditional educational programs.