The Changing Role of Healthcare Administrators During and After COVID

The Changing Role of Healthcare Administrators During and After COVID

Hospital hallway
Hospital hallway

Healthcare administrator jobs have always been essential in the success of a healthcare facility’s business plan, employee management and operational efficiency. 

Educated and trained individuals working in healthcare administrator jobs and hospital administration are especially vital as the United States — and the world at large — fight to contain and eradicate the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the United States labor force recovered millions of jobs in May 2020 and the health services sector alone recovered 312,400 jobs in May. 

Although healthcare jobs are in high demand, they are also being fundamentally changed by the global pandemic. Healthcare administrator jobs are changing to cope with the impact COVID-19 has had on hospitals, clinics, dental offices, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. 

In this post, you can discover how healthcare administrator jobs are operating to manage COVID-19, and the future trends experts are forecasting in healthcare and how you can make an impact in the industry.

Two healthcare administrators in masks

How Has the Global Pandemic Impacted Hospital Administration?

The global pandemic will have a long-term impact on the healthcare system and hospital administration will continue to adapt in an attempt to ease COVID-19-related financial debt, sustain and improve the quality of healthcare, introduce telehealth technology and remedy staff shortages.

 

Dr. Enrique Barreiro

Dr. Enrique Barreiro
Central Christian College of Kansas

“During this time, the short-term goal is flexibility, adaptation and relocation of resources to continue to provide safe services,” Dr. Enrique Barreiro, Chair of the Master Strategic Leadership Program at Central Christian College of Kansas, said. “The long-term planning includes the slow re-integration of scheduling to address those patients that need to be rescheduled for services.”

COVID-19 has impacted hospital administration in a multitude of ways, but professionals in healthcare management jobs are currently grappling with the following four areas as the industry continues to fight the further spread of the COVID-19.

Female health administrator in mask at a laptop

Financial Implications

Hospital administration jobs entail the management of all financial operations. The presence of COVID-19 has quickly altered healthcare facility costs and forced hospital administration to reevaluate business plan financials. 

The American Hospital Association (AHA) conducted a study and estimated the total financial impact of COVID-19 on the American healthcare system. 

AHA concluded in their results that “a total four-month financial impact of $202.6 billion in losses for America’s hospitals and health systems, or an average of $50.7 billion per month.”

The AHA acknowledges that COVID-19 has impacted hospital costs due to four main factors:

 “The effect of COVID-19 hospitalizations on hospital costs;

  1. the effect of canceled and forgone services, caused by COVID-19, on hospital revenue;

  2. the additional costs associated with purchasing needed personal protective equipment (PPE); and

  3. the costs of the additional support some hospitals are providing to their workers.”

Professionals in healthcare administrator jobs are using their training and education to establish business plans that will offset costs and mitigate debt during the pandemic and thereafter.

Doctor in scrubs tying on mask

Quality of Healthcare

People in healthcare management jobs working to ensure the quality of healthcare that patients receive continues to be satisfactory during the pandemic.

In an attempt to maintain the quality of healthcare in their facilities, healthcare management jobs and hospital administration are implementing the following tactics:

  • Using telehealth technology to support healthcare professionals and patients

  • Following a framework for providing non-COVID-19 clinical care during the pandemic

  • Using a spreadsheet called the COVID-19 Surge chart to estimate when a surge of cases will be present

  • Following a comprehensive hospital preparedness checklist

  • Maintaining appropriate staffing

  • Preparing the clinic, hospital and healthcare facility ahead of time

Healthcare Technology

People working in healthcare management jobs are increasingly using telehealth technology to help support healthcare provider and their patients. Telehealth is “the provision of healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technology” such as video conferencing, telephone communications, text messaging and other modes of remote communication.

The global pandemic has impacted hospital administration by creating a surge in the prevalence of telehealth use. 

Telehealth has seen rapid growth, including a 4,347% increase in medical claim lines nationally in March 2019. More healthcare facilities are now offering telehealth and more patients are comfortable using it. Moreover, telehealth is projected to grow by 80% year-over-year, to $10 billion by the end of 2020, and $266 billion by 2026.

The use of telehealth is currently helping HCP to screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms before they enter a healthcare facility, allow patients to continue to access mental health support, allow patients to manage chronic illnesses without frequent in-person appointments, provide non-emergency care to people in rural areas and more. 

Healthcare Provider Shortage

The global pandemic has also put pressure on the human resources sector to increase the hiring of physicians and leaders occupying healthcare administrator jobs.

Prior to the global pandemic, America was experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers, such as nurses and physicians. In 2019, the AAMC announced that “the United States will see a shortage of up to nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032 as demand for physicians continues to grow faster than supply.”

COVID-19 has put added pressures on hospital staff and the healthcare system that desperately needs educated and trained individuals working in healthcare. 

Healthcare management jobs are essential as these professionals organize healthcare facilities and manage staff to increase organizational efficiency. 

 
 
“At Central Christian College of Kansas, we believe the pandemic has opened the door to new opportunities into which healthcare workers can venture... The main objective is to adapt and be flexible in the ever-changing healthcare industry.” -  Dr. Enrique Barreiro, Chair of the Master Strategic Leadership Program, Central Christian College of Kansas
 
 

Male health administrator confers with female doctor

What Do Healthcare Administrator Jobs Usually Entail?

Healthcare administrator job responsibilities largely depend on the type of facility the professional works for, however, these professionals are typically the upper management staff that leads and direct healthcare professionals at hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other healthcare facilities. 

According to Payscale, day-to-day healthcare administrator jobs include the following: 

  • Lead clinical and business professionals to improve the healthcare facility’s quality of care while simultaneously growing from a business standpoint 

  • Manage human resources responsibilities, including hiring, staffing, training and performance reviews 

  • Spearhead marketing tactics by tracking the growth of the healthcare business and pinpointing revenue opportunities

  • Responsible for all financial operations, including daily, quarterly and annual reporting

Health administrator going over data on desktop computer

What Do Healthcare Administrator Jobs Entail During COVID-19?

The global pandemic has altered the healthcare administrator role. As a result, healthcare management jobs and hospital administration jobs have taken immediate action in the following areas to protect their facility and staff while simultaneously helping as many patients as possible in the fight against COVID-19.

Prioritizing Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) 

The presence of COVID-19 has caused professionals working in healthcare management jobs and hospital administration to prioritize sourcing personal protection equipment (PPE) for their staff. 

Since the demand for PPE has resulted in shortages across many facilities, healthcare administrator jobs now involve implementing strategies to optimize the use of PPE. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), this includes:

  • implementing extended and limited reuse of N95 respirators, 

  • reserving N95 respirators for aerosol-generating procedures, 

  • creating extended use of PPE units where only patients with COVID-19 are provided care, 

  • implementing a walk-up testing booth that allows HCP to stand behind solid but transparent (e.g., polycarbonate) panels to collect samples for COVID-19.”

Female doctor scrubbing up

Optimizing Occupational Health and Worker Safety 

Improving the occupational health and safety of workers requires a multi-tiered approach that must address physical safety, mental health and additional support to protect HCP workers. 

Individuals in healthcare administrator jobs are currently working to keep their staff safe in the following four ways: 

  1. Healthcare administrators are ensuring HCP staff are well-trained in the proper use of their PPE to encourage the extended use of resources, such as N95 respirators. 

  2. Healthcare management  and hospital administration staff have developed self-monitoring protocols that encourage HCP to stay home when they feel sick and have access to COVID-19 testing.

  3. People in healthcare management jobs have assigned dedicated HCP to work with patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 and uphold the highest standards of infection prevention for these staff members. 

Healthcare administrators are providing additional holistic support for HCP. The global pandemic has placed increasing demands on HCP and could lead to burn-out in essential workers. A plan for providing additional support for HCP, such as access to mental health resources, parenting support, meals and non-punitive sick policies could mitigate stress and help prevent burnout.

Doctor reviewing chart

Strengthening Facility Response Mechanisms

COVID-19 has changed the way healthcare facilities execute internal processes. It’s up to healthcare administrators to strengthen their facility’s ability to respond to COVID-19 by circulating education about COVID-19 and the crisis standards of care.

According to the CDC, people working in healthcare management jobs and hospital administration can accomplish this by doing the following:

  • Create a hospital preparedness checklist

  • Create a COVID-19 spreadsheet that estimates the demand for hospital-based services amid the pandemic

  • Create a plan that will isolate patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 

  • Create a plan to mitigate staffing shortages

  • Set up Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in your hospital

  • Assess the risk and determine when your facility can safely resume and continue providing essential healthcare services 

Developing a Communication Plan for HCP

One of the main responsibilities that healthcare administrator jobs entail is the ability to effectively communicate plans to HCP and lead collaboration to increase efficiencies. 

During the pandemic, communication plans are key to success. Professionals in healthcare management jobs and hospital administration should host virtual town halls to transmit the latest information, encourage daily chats with leaders in the facility and deploy frequent media briefs that summarize facility updates.

Healthcare administrators should explain how facility response plans, PPE training and occupational safety procedures were created and why they’re important. Upper management should also remain diligent when providing updates to daily procedures or changes in guidelines.

Doctor and health administrator reviewing data on laptops

Reporting Data: Testing Data, Capacity and Utilization Data

On March 29, 2020, “Vice President Pence sent a letter to hospital administrators across the country requesting daily data reports on testing, capacity and utilization and patient flows to facilitate the public health response to the Novel Coronavirus”, according to  the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. 

Hospital administration became responsible for reporting data, such as the hospital inpatient capacity, the total number of ventilators available, all COVID-19 testing results and more.

Healthcare administrator jobs during COVID-19 include the collection, analysis and reporting of this data to the Federal Government.

Individuals in healthcare administrator  positions are working hard to help disseminate up-to-date information that will lead to transparency around the current presence of COVID-19 cases in the country. 

Using Telehealth Strategies

Healthcare professionals are already using telehealth to offset the stressors of the global pandemic on the healthcare system. 

Telehealth has helped professionals in healthcare management jobs improve the efficiency of services by offering a fraction of healthcare appointments remotely. This means that individuals that require follow-up appointments for chronic illnesses, mental health counseling, general symptom-related questions and other concerns can seek assistance without potential exposure to COVID-19. 

Healthcare administrator jobs require management to research and implement telehealth services and then onboard and oversee these services in the facility. 

Following Healthcare Guidelines 

Healthcare facilities have always operated under a list of guidelines outlined by the CDC, the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, Infectious Disease Society of America and other government entities.

The ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19 have required that people working in healthcare management jobs frequently review and train their HCP staff to abide by these guidelines.

The guidance provided by these organizations reflects evidence-based protocols that optimize the safety and well-being of staff and patients.      

Health administrator editing video of doctor in lab coat

What Will Healthcare Administrator Jobs Look Like After the Pandemic? 

The global pandemic brought new challenges to the healthcare system, but it also exposed existing issues. Substantial medical-related spending, high instances of chronic disease, physician shortages and a high number of preventable hospitalization were all present before the onset of COVID-19, according to The Commonwealth Fund. The added pressures of a global pandemic have forced officials to reevaluate current processes and make immediate changes. 

As a result, healthcare reform could be on the horizon. According to various experts and recent reports, healthcare workers should pay attention to the following changes that could prove to be long-lasting in the health sector.

Amended Facility Management

The management of healthcare facilities is expected to change as America moves beyond COVID-19 into a new normal. 

Healthcare Finance interviewed Bill Horton, co-chair of the national Healthcare Industry Team at law firm Jones Walker, and summarized Horton’s observations around the current structure of healthcare management, “a lot of hospitals have large, often community-based boards that are not necessarily accustomed to switching gears and operating in crisis mode.”

Horton believes that after the outbreak of COVID-19, healthcare facilities will change their system of governance to prioritize telehealth, preplanned crisis management strategies and the use of an “emergency committee” to make agile decisions to streamline operational processes during times of crisis.

Professionals in healthcare administrator jobs will be on the frontlines when it comes to carrying out new forms of management and communicating changes to their team. 

New Protocols for Employee Safety

COVID-19 has taught people working in healthcare administrator jobs the importance of employee safety. Proper access to PPE, PPE-use training and other physical considerations are important but COVID-19 has also shined a light on the importance of taking care of the mental health of HCP.

Stress, anxiety, depression and burnout in HCP’s during COVID-19 fall under the category of mental health in the workplace. Healthcare administrator jobs must manage the well-being of healthcare facilities and the people they employ, meaning employee mental health should be a priority. 

The CDC has released documents such as How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic that instructs people in healthcare administrator jobs on how to train employees to deal with stress, burnout and other strong emotions. Hospital administration could implement practices such as emotional regulation training to prepare staff for the next potential outbreak.

Increase in Telehealth Technology

Telehealth is here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, but it’s also evolving and improving to better support healthcare providers and patients. Soon healthcare administrator jobs will involve more interaction with the implementation of novel healthcare technologies and platforms.

According to Deloitte’s recent survey The Future of Virtual Health, their research shows that telehealth is changing the healthcare industry landscape in the following ways:

  • By 2040, respondents expect 25% of all outpatient care, preventive care, long-term care and well-being services to be provided by means of telehealth services

  • 88% of respondents believe that wearable devices will be a large part of care and will offer patients a personalized virtual healthcare experience

  • 75% of respondents believe that investments in virtual care will be significantly higher between 2020 and 2030

Moreover, telehealth is projected to grow by 80% year-over-year, to $10 billion by end of 2020, and $266 billion by 2026.

Changes in Privacy and Regulations

Telehealth ushers in convenience, flexibility and efficiency but it also welcomes a slew of questions around online privacy and ethics around patient data. 

In the future of healthcare in general, the dissemination of virtual healthcare data will require updated guidelines and regulations to protect patients. 

A number of steps have been taken to encourage healthcare providers and individuals in healthcare administrator jobs to expand telehealth services to fight COVID-19, including:

  • Expanding coverage for telehealth services (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, etc.)

  • Relaxing the HIPAA regulations and enforcement

  • Increasing access to easy-to-use telehealth platforms 

After the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed, the government will likely update and communicate clear regulations around the use of telehealth, compensation and cost related to telehealth services, HIPAA-compliant communication tools and more.

Smiling hospital administrator

What Is the Job Outlook and Salary for Healthcare Administrator Jobs?

The job outlook for healthcare administrator jobs has continued to grow due to the demand that COVID-19 has placed on the healthcare industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts (BLS) says that administrator jobs are projected to grow 18% between 2018 and 2028. 

Beyond COVID-19, the baby boomers' large aging population will continue to require healthcare services and reinforce job growth in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare management jobs and hospital administration salaries can vary for each career depending on the industry, organization-type, geographic location and other factors. 

According to BLS, healthcare administrator jobs offer a generous salary with a median pay of $100,980 per year. 

In the U.S. a hospital administrator in their mid to late-career can make as much as $157,000 per year. The salaries for healthcare administrator jobs are highest in busy cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and New York.

Female health administrator working at laptop

What Can I Do Next If I Want to Pursue a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration?

Ready to earn a healthcare administration degree and have access to many important and meaningful career paths? If so, learn more about the Central Christian College of Kansas’ Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration. Or connect with a counselor to see if the degree is right for you.

“Our CCCK program offers a diverse view in the industry. In addition, the program offers a very flexible approach that encourages the students to stay connected with current events in the healthcare industry,” Barreiro said. “Our students have provided positive feedback time and time again for the courses taught here. Generally, they appreciate the feasibility and flexibility of the program that allows those individuals already involved in the healthcare industry to continue working.”

Central Christian College of Kansas Online programs offer a 100% online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration that is flexible and designed for working adults. With a generous credit transfer policy, financial aid options, and exceptional support from professors and dedicated student advisors, CCCK Online makes it easy for you to fast track your career in the healthcare industry. To learn more, visit the CCCK Online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration page.

 

About Central Christian Online

With a remarkable history that dates back to 1884, Central Christian College of Kansas offers education focused on professional development and character, for students of all faith backgrounds. Through our global online learning environment, Central Christian College of Kansas is dedicated to providing a world-class education that equips you to serve with distinction. Students from around the country benefit from our top-ranked and accredited 100% online programs, enjoying the flexibility to balance their professional and personal lives. To get curriculum details and download a free program guide, visit: myonline.centralchristian.edu.