Growth in the Health Services Sector Provides Opportunities for Charleston Residents

Healthcare Management

The Charleston metro-area is currently experiencing a population boom, with an estimated 40 people moving to the Lowcountry every day. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce has predicted that this burgeoning number of tri-county residents will result in economic growth in all job sectors, including medical and health services.

The medical and health services sector has already seen marked expansion in the Charleston Metro Area, demonstrating over 47% growth since 2000 – a rate that exceeds the national average. According to a June 2014 report by Avalanche Consulting, 1,000 new jobs in the medical and health services sector are added annually to the Charleston labor market, with approximately 10% of the workforce being employed in health services. Given that the population is both aging and increasing, and expanded healthcare coverage is allowing greater numbers of residents to seek medical care, the health services sector is likely to remain an area of rapid expansion.

As the need for healthcare services increases, so too will the need for skilled individuals who can supervise the delivery of these services. Medical and health services managers, also referred to as administrators or executives, are professionals who help to ensure the quality, efficacy, and practicality of the facilities provided – and the products and services offered – within the health services industry. Local demand for such professionals has grown 81% over the past two years, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the need for health services managers could increase nationally by as much as 22% by 2020.

Career Opportunities for Health Services Managers

According to Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce estimates, 1,700 firms in the Charleston-area currently provide healthcare and social assistance services. Opportunities for health services managers may be found in settings across this sector, including:

  • medical and dental practices
  • hospitals and clinics
  • assisted living and nursing home facilities
  • rehabilitation centers
  • medical insurance companies
  • pharmaceutical companies
  • medical product distributors
  • biotechnology firms

Within these settings, health services managers may be employed in a variety of departments, fulfilling roles related to senior management, as well as positions in finance, marketing, product development, information technology, human resources, and compliance. Of the many positions available in health services management, some of the more common – and lucrative – include:

Hospital CFO
CFOs typically manage the hospital’s overall financial operations, working to balance quality and cost-effectiveness. Financial planning, budgeting, contract negotiation, investor relations, and record-keeping are among the key responsibilities.

Hospital/Clinic Administrator
Hospital administrators must ensure that the facility is operating efficiently, while also providing the highest quality of care. Responsibilities vary according to rank, but may include staff recruitment, policy development and analysis, facility management, and government compliance practices.

Practice Manager
Practice managers oversee all managerial aspects of a private medical practice, including policy development, government compliance, staffing, scheduling and procurement.

Clinical Manager
Clinical managers’ duties are similar to those of a practice manager, but pertain to a particular department – such as maternity or intensive care – rather than an overall practice.

Product Manager
Typically working within the pharmaceutical or medical equipment sectors, product managers specialize in marketing practices, including data analysis and promotional campaign development.

Health Information Manager
Employed within a variety of health services organizations, health information managers are responsible for the organization and maintenance of patient data, and must hold detailed knowledge of information systems, as well as a firm understanding of privacy laws.

While once primarily the realm of clinicians, health services management positions are increasingly held by individuals with a strong business acumen, and the understanding necessary for working within a complex financial system.

South Carolina State University plans to offer a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management at the Lowcountry Graduate Center in the next academic year. This MBA thoroughly prepares graduates for the rigors of health services management career.  Differing significantly from other graduate-level health services degree programs – such as the Master of Health Administration or Master of Public Health  – the MBA in Healthcare Management offers a curriculum centered on business practices and financial principles, allowing graduates to pursue a vast range of leadership opportunities.

Although current Charleston-area job postings do not necessarily request that candidates hold an MBA, professionals from both the business and health services sectors stand to benefit from pursuing more in-depth knowledge of health services management principles.