As of 2018, Kansas' healthcare system has been occasionally classified as being in a transition period. Unfortunately, this year marks the second closing of a Kansas hospital in three years: both closed due to their inability to treat the high volume of patients without coverage. Other communities face a similar danger.
Yet, Kansans have taken notice of this issue. All three candidates for the 2018 senate race agree that the system is "a disaster" and needs to change.
It is likely that KanCare - the state's public system - will be expanded to help the more than 150,000 residents who currently don't have coverage.
And churches and local non-profits are taking initiatives to expand coverage to rural areas, which have traditionally been among the least covered.
Kansas needs well-educated professionals to lead this shift in their public system. If you have experience working in the health industry and you wish to be a future leader at the regional, state, or even national level, a Master's in Health Administration might be a good place to take the next step.
Common Master's in Health Care Administration Degree Concepts
MHAs are multidisciplinary degree paths which cover a wide range of issues facing the health industry. Below, we have listed some courses included in the University of Kansas Medical Center's MHSA degree program, and briefly described them, as they are indicative of the coursework you are likely to find in any accredited program.
The U.S. Health Care System
This and similar courses seek to offer an intro to the structure and function of the U.S. healthcare system, as well as its historical context. Generally, students gain exposure to the concepts and vocabulary associated with the system.
Financial Concepts in Health Management
Health administrators must be acquainted with the financial concepts of the industry they will be leading. These courses show students the financial and managerial accounting concepts used in health care.
Good leaders are ethical leaders, and MHA programs aim to train their students in the concepts and methods of ethical behavior. Students are introduced to the principles of ethics in health services administration. Students develop the skills to recognize and analyze ethical dilemmas, and to take appropriate measures in response.
MHA Programs Available in Kansas
We wanted to highlight some of the degree programs that are available in the state of Kansas. These could be on-campus or online options but pay attention to things like program length and cost when evaluating different programs.
University of Kansas Medical Center
The UKMC is the largest not-for-profit hospital in the state, located in Topeka. The school offers a Master of Health Service Administration degree which is fully CAHME accredited. Students go through an overview of health policy, management methods, and the many facets of 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.
The university understands that many students must balance their studies with their work, and many students are mid-career professionals.
Resident students can expect a base tuition of $419 per credit hour, while out-of-state students are charged a fee of $976 per credit hour.
The program does not discriminate in pricing between part-time and full-time students. Additional application and university fees apply, and students should factor their own cost of living into the total amount they will pay for their education.
As such, classes are offered during the late afternoon and evenings, and students may course in either a full-time or part-time format. Full-time students can expect to finish the degree in as little as two years, while part-time students may take up to four to complete their degree.
The degree plan comprises 51 credit hours, which includes an obligatory internship with a local health organization, and a capstone seminar which students generally complete in the last semester of their education.
The university is proud to say that a recent cohort of graduates had a 100 percent three-month job placement rate.
The UKMC maintains a rich network of industry contacts in the region, and many students are offered jobs while still completing their degree.
Wichita State University
This university offers an MHA program which can be completed entirely in an online format, with which students are trained to manage large health organizations.
The base tuition is $404 per credit hour, and pricing is not dependent on residency.
Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 2.75 and are asked to present GRE scores: this last requirement may be waived if students have three or more years of professional experience.
The degree comprises 42 credit hours which cover healthcare systems, critical thinking, and management and leadership, and a capstone project with a clinical placement in a local hospital or clinic.
This distance learning option may be ideal for students who need the flexibility to choose when and where they study.
Health Administration in Kansas
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry is expected to grow at a rate of twenty percent through 2024.
The state currently employs roughly 3,600 health managerial professionals, though as mentioned above this number is expected to grow as sweeping changes are implemented to the public system. These professionals enjoy an average annual salary of $92,330, as of 2017.
A recent job search found openings as a hospital administrator with the state’s largest public hospital, as a manager of the Department of Occupational Health with the VHA, and as a specialist with the state government.
Whatever your particular passion and interests, an MHA is likely to provide you with a number of tools so that you can work in any facet of the industry, and work to make communities in Kansas and the nation healthier.