Become a Home Health Administrator
Home health administrators supervise clinical staff members who provide medical treatment to in-home patients, as well as employees who perform clerical functions. These professionals may manage a home health agency or oversee daily operations of an assisted living or nursing home facility. Home health administrators are responsible for improving the quality of healthcare provided, ensuring the facility is in compliance with healthcare laws and regulations and overseeing financial expenditures. They also work on expanding the client base, negotiating with insurance companies and evaluating staff members. Weekend, evening, or overnight work hours might be required.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree required; master's degree very common|
|Degree Field||Healthcare or long-term care administration, public health, or public administration|
|Licensure and Certification||All states require licensure for nursing home administrators; some states require licensure for administrators of assisted-living facilities; voluntary certification available|
|Experience||Varies; could be as little as one year of supervisory experience or up to five years of experience|
|Key Skills||Communication, interpersonal, critical-thinking, good judgment and decision-making, problem-solving, and technical skills; ability to manage personnel and use medical software|
|Salary||$75,891 per year (2016 median salary for all home health administrators)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine, Online Job Postings (July to August 2015), Payscale.com (August 2016)
Let's examine some steps to becoming a home health administrator.
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Steps to Become a Home Health Admin
Step 1: Obtain a Degree in a Healthcare-Related Field
Most employers prefer to hire home health administrators who possess a master's degree in a closely related area, such as healthcare administration. Coursework in these programs can include healthcare finance, healthcare law, and health policy. Smaller companies may accept home health administrators who only have a bachelor's degree. In many cases, these are entry-level positions managing a small group of clinical staff. Having a bachelor's in healthcare administration may also help with getting a middle management position at larger companies.
Step 2: Research Different Home Health Options
A number of options are available to home health administrators, including working for home health agencies, nursing home facilities, or home health equipment companies. A common option is working for hospice organizations. Hospice administrators working with terminal patients have slightly different responsibilities than administrators at other types of organizations. For instance, all hospice providers have to abide by state and federal laws regarding levels of care and confidentiality. Since some hospices are non-profit organizations, there are also different government regulations in regards to methods of funding, employment, and reporting.
Research licensure requirements. Some administrators, such as those who work for nursing homes, are required to be licensed. Requirements for licensure can vary by state.
Step 3: Gain Experience in the Field
Building experience as a home health administrative assistant is a traditional way of climbing the ladder. Healthcare companies may prefer to promote from within because less training is required. Some home health administrators start out as nurses and acquire administrative experience on the job. Other nurses go on to earn a degree in heath administration, qualifying them to manage home care facilities.
Step 4: Consider Certification Options
In addition to licensure, a professional certification can further demonstrate proficiency in the field. Certifications available include the Certified Nursing Home Administrator (CNHA) and Certified Assisted Living Administrator (CALA) credentials offered by the American College of Health Care Administrators. Both designations typically require current licensure, at least two years of administrator experience, a bachelor's degree, and a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education credits.
Becoming a home health administrator requires a bachelor's or master's degree and experience as a home health administrative assistant or nurse.