As the health care field has become increasingly complex, health care organizations have added risk managers to mitigate internal and external risks to the organization. Risk managers are administrative health care professionals who serve an important role in protecting the organization and its assets, so the organization can remain focused on the delivery of quality health care services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports nearly 73 percent of current health care managers are women, making it an exciting career option for women who wish to engage in both the business and health care sectors. With steady growth and constant changes in the health care industry, this field is expected to offer an abundance of employment opportunities in the future.
The job duties of a risk manager vary based on the type of health care setting. However, typical duties of a health care risk manager include analysis of the financial risks to an organization, disaster recovery planning, emergency incident management, site safety and security, patient safety, identification of required insurance coverage, and ongoing assessment of potential risks to an organization due to theft, fraud, and medical or dental provider errors. Risk managers often have responsibilities related to compliance with regulations and statutes issued by governing bodies and assistance in maintaining standards if the work location is accredited.
Health care risk managers can work in a wide variety of settings including private medical practices, hospitals, long-term care facilities and insurance companies. Risk managers do not provide direct patient care services but typically split their time between administrative offices and clinic areas. Risk managers interact with patients, employees, clinic administrators and outside vendors. Travel between practice sites may be required.
Education and Experience Requirements
Educational and experience requirements vary based on the size of the organization, complexity of the position and overall rank in the organization's hierarchy. Risk managers may have a bachelor's or master's degree in business or health care administration, public health, nursing or law, as all of these fields have elements related to the practice of risk management. Several U.S. colleges offer degree and certificate programs in health care risk management. Risk managers in health insurance settings may function in an actuarial role, which requires a degree in actuarial science and passage of a certification exam. Extensive experience in a related role may be sufficient to meet the requirements for some positions. Risk managers can be certified through the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the 2010 median annual salary for medical and health services managers was $84,270. The educational requirements for the position and size of the organization factor into the actual salary offered.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical and Health Services Managers
- The Joint Commission: National Patient Safety Goals
- American Society for Healthcare Risk Management: Overview of the Healthcare Risk Management Profession
- Casualty Actuarial Society: Admissions Process
- American Society for Healthcare Risk Management: College Degree and Certificate Programs in Healthcare Risk Management and/or Patient Safety
- Forbes: Women in Healthcare Report
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images