Available data tells us that the uninsured rate in the state of Arkansas dropped by fifty percent between the years of 2013 and 2016 alone. As of 2016, roughly 8 percent of the state's three million residents were uninsured. This drop is likely due to Arkansas' decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
However, recent legislation has put stricter requirements on Medicaid recipients, which may make access to quality healthcare more difficult for up to 40,000 Arkansans (source).
At these moments of rapid policy changes, it is more important than ever for the health industry to count on experienced, educated professionals who can take on the challenges facing the field, demonstrate leadership skills, and help ensure that the one hundred hospitals and hundreds more clinics and outpatient centers continue to offer quality care to the state's residents.
Common Master's in Health Care Administration Degree Concepts
Arkansas universities which offer MHA programs tend to organize the degree around key competencies: these are broader subjects which have been deemed critical in order for future professionals to effectively lead health organizations. Below, we have listed some of these competencies.
Leadership, Professionalism, and Ethics
MHA recipients are the future leaders of the health industry. Interpersonal skills and management capabilities are fundamental for these roles, as is a deep understanding of the ethical precedents and issues which face the industry. Students generally take a combination of leadership and management seminars, in addition to classes directly addressing the ethics of the field.
Measurement and Analysis
In addition to the medical aspect of health, health administrators interact on a daily basis with the myriad financial and data-based information that are involved with any health organization. The ability to properly manipulate and assess data in order to make prudent decisions is essential. Students take a number of financial, economic, and system-oriented classes.
The Healthcare Environment
Students must also be acquainted with the social, political, and legal aspects of the healthcare system. Having an understanding of the history of the U.S. health industry is vital to being able to improve its future. As such, students generally take classes which specifically address legal issues, health policy, and the relationships between communities and public health institutions.
Health Administration in Arkansas
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36 percent of health management professionals work in hospitals of some form: the rest of the field is spread among physician offices, government positions, nursing facilities, and other
In Arkansas, over 4000 individuals are employed as health administrators, with an average mean wage of $82,930. The field is expected to grow at a rate of twenty percent through 2024: far faster than the average job growth rate.
This means that now may be a good time for you to pursue your MHA if you are interested in advancing your career in the health industry.
The George Washington University’s (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences offers online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) programs for healthcare professionals, including a BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management.
Click for program information.
MHA Programs Available in Arkansas
A number of universities within the state offer CAHME accredited Master's in Health Administration degree programs. Below, we have listed a few options which are indicative of the wider offer.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Currently, UAMS is the only university in the state that offers a CAHME-accredited MHA degree. Understanding that many who seek their MHA are currently working in the industry and must balance work and study, UAMS accommodates both full-time and part-time students, and offers a variety of core classes online.
Full-time students can expect to complete the 51-credit hour requirement in as little as 21 months, while part-time students generally take up to three and a half years to complete the program. In addition to the online coursework available, most of the courses are offered during the evening, in order to accommodate work schedules.
In addition to the coursework, full-time students participate in a summer residency based on their specific interests and work under real senior health administrators. Part-time students with professional experience can participate in a management project with a healthcare organization, addressing real-world needs and also working directly with senior administrators.
Full-time, in-state students can expect a base tuition of $3,950 per semester, while out-of-state students are charged $7,900 a semester in tuition.
For part-time students, the fees are $440 and $880 per credit hour, respectively. Additional fees for university services apply.
Graduates of the program are automatically enrolled in the MHA Student Association, an alumni network with extensive contacts in the industry in the state, region, and nation.
University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
UA Fort Smith is one of the campuses of the larger University of Arkansas system, the largest public system in the state. The university offers a 40-credit hour program which can be completed entirely online, allowing professional students the flexibility to study where and when they choose.
It is important to note that while the program has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commision, CAHME accreditation is still pending.
As with UAMS, tuition varies both with residency and full-time or part-time schedules.
Full-time students who are residents of Arkansas or border states are charged a base tuition of $2494 per semester; non-resident students are charged $6,915 per semester.
Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA and five years of experience in the industry and will have to participate in an on-campus interview.