Practice Administrator Job Description
Often working for medical groups or doctors’ and dentists’ offices, practice administrators oversee a healthcare facility’s daily operations and staff. They assist with business planning and process improvement, compliance with industry regulations, financial management, human resources, facility management, and relationship management. A practice administrator’s work requires someone with a background in business and healthcare who can work in a fast-paced setting, coordinate with staff and outside agencies, and effectively reach goals to improve the facility. Working long hours and irregular shifts, sometimes coming in on days off to handle emergencies, is part of the job.
Practice Administrator Duties and Responsibilities
Specific job duties for practice administrators vary based on the employer. However, there are several core tasks common to all practice administrators, such as:
Recruit and Oversee Staff
Part of a practice administrator’s job is to recruit new staff with the appropriate medical credentials and assist with onboarding and training them. They also assign activities, offer feedback and developmental training, and conduct performance reviews.
Handle the Facility’s Finances
Practice administrators act as financial managers and accounting professionals for their facilities. Their duties include developing and following budgets, processing payroll, creating financial reports measuring cash flow and profitability, handling invoices and checks, and coordinating with insurance companies for reimbursement.
Lead Improvement Activities
Working with staff and outside agencies such as government bodies and insurance companies, practice administrators create plans to improve how their facilities deliver healthcare services. This can include improving the facility to solve quality issues, decreasing wait times for patients, and creating long-term plans to grow the facility’s profits and patient capacity.
Perform General Administrative Tasks
Practice administrators make work schedules, manage records, order supplies, attend meetings, contact insurance companies and patients, and perform other general administrative tasks as needed.
Monitor for Regulatory Compliance
Understanding state and federal laws and regulations regarding patient care and healthcare facility management is an important part of the job. Practice administrators continually monitor for compliance, coordinate with outside parties, and address any compliance issues promptly.
Practice Administrator Skills and Qualifications
Skilled in running all aspects of a healthcare facility, practice administrators are influential leaders who are comfortable working with people from all backgrounds. They usually have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, five years of healthcare management experience, and these skills:
- Understanding of healthcare systems – running a healthcare facility requires understanding healthcare principles, policies, and legal issues to ensure a safe and effective environment for patients and healthcare professionals
- People management – practice administrators participate in hiring, training, mentoring, developing, and leading the employees at the facility
- Business management – managing finances, assisting with marketing campaigns, buying supplies, collaborating with vendors, and keeping the facility maintained all require basic business management skills
- Organizational skills – keeping the facility running smoothly requires practice administrators to plan projects, effectively assign work and delegate tasks, and keep the work environment organized
- Interpersonal skills – solving conflicts between coworkers, encouraging collaboration, negotiating, and communicating with people inside and outside the facility all require practice administrators to have strong interpersonal skills
Tools of the Trade
Practice administrators use the following tools in their daily duties:
- Medical practice management software (AllScripts, NextGen, Kareo)
- Enterprise resource planning software (PeopleSoft, Oracle, Sage)
- Productivity software (Microsoft Office Suite)
Practice Administrator Education and Training
Practice administrators typically need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in healthcare administration or business. Most programs include typical business courses in finance, human resources, marketing, project management, accounting, and strategy. Specialized healthcare administration programs add coursework in medical practice management, billing and coding, healthcare law and ethics, healthcare delivery systems, and healthcare policy. Since practice administrators need significant work experience, students often seek internships at healthcare facilities to obtain some hands-on experience. Practice administrators who work for nursing care facilities may need state licensure, although certification is usually optional for other facilities.
Practice Administrator Salary and Outlook
Considered medical and health services managers, practice administrators make a median annual wage of about $98,000, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 10th percentile of practice administrators receive $58,350, and those who earn the most make over $176,000. Many medical facilities give full-time practice administrators tuition reimbursement, healthcare and disability insurance, paid time off, pay bonuses, and advancement opportunities.
With the BLS predicting 20 percent employment growth for the occupation through 2026, practice administrators can expect excellent job prospects, especially if they work in nursing care facilities or group practices. Healthcare facilities especially need candidates skilled in healthcare information technology and prefer those who have a graduate-level education in healthcare administration.
If working as a practice administrator sounds like a good fit, check out this list of helpful career resources.
American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management – practice administrators can join the AAHAM to qualify for certifications, network with other professionals locally and online, access a job bank, receive newsletters, and receive discounts on products and services for their facilities.
From Backpack to Briefcase: Professional Development in Health Care Administration – aimed at students studying healthcare administration, this book offers advice on getting initial work experience to qualify for a healthcare administration job. In addition to explaining job duties, it offers guidance on networking, interviewing, and writing resumes and cover letters.
Health Care Administrators Association – the HCAA keeps practice administrators informed about industry news and issues, offers educational and networking events online and around the country, and gives members access to exclusive job postings.
Career Opportunities in Health Care Management: Perspectives from the Field – individuals considering a healthcare management career can use this book to learn about required skills, common job duties, and different types of healthcare settings to work in. It uses case studies from current practice administrators to provide a look into the field.
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