Online MHA Program Curriculum

Specifically designed for working professionals who want to advance their careers in US healthcare, the Online Master of Health Administration is a part-time program that you can complete in 28 months (seven semesters). The courses are a compilation of the most important facets of US healthcare management. You’ll learn multiple and overlapping skills required to effectively lead complex US healthcare organizations.

SEMESTER 1

Managing Healthcare Organizations

Increase your effectiveness managing, leading, and designing organizations in healthcare.

This course has two overall goals. The first is to increase participants’ effectiveness in managing and leading individuals and teams in healthcare organizations. This includes addressing issues of equity, diversity and inclusion within organizations and among their stakeholders. The course’s second goal is to prepare participants to effectively design organizations. Effective managers not only must lead individuals and teams: they also must ensure that their organizations are well-designed to deliver the results that their strategies promise. This entails developing knowledge and leadership and negotiation skills to analyze key issues in organizational structure, power and politics, culture, and change.

3.0 credits

Health Policy & the Health System I

Analyze key issues in the distribution of health and illness in society, the organization of the healthcare system, and the relationship of one to the other.

This course builds students’ knowledge and skills to enable them to analyze key issues in the distribution of health and illness in society, the organization of the healthcare system, and the relationship of one to the other. We first consider the evolution of the U.S. healthcare system and of health policy. We then present an international perspective on the U.S. healthcare system with an emphasis on the Affordable Care Act, alternative government roles, current challenges and the future of the healthcare system.

In the second part of the course, we explore divergent perspectives for analyzing health and health care: clinical, epidemiological, economic, sociological/cultural and public health. We focus especially on the role of the social determinants of health and how managers can work collaboratively with leaders in housing, education, transportation, and other sectors to promote population health.

In the third part, we focus on selected issues in health policy and management: the challenge of mental health, variations in medical practice and the quality of care, healthcare rationing and access to care. We focus particularly on disparities among racial and ethnic minority groups. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of how practitioners should respond to the growth of the medical-industrial complex for health policy and management.

3.0 credits

SEMESTER 2

Introductory Immersion: Skill-Building for Healthcare Managers

An in-person, two-and-a-half day workshop to build students’ skills in leadership; communications; evidence-based decision-making; and managing careers.

Intensive introduction to the specific skills threaded through the Online MHA: building skills for effective communication, leadership and ethics, evidence-based management, and career development.

1.5 credits

Immersion dates:

Fall 2019: September 19-21, 2019

Spring 2020: February 20-22, 2020

Summer 2020: June 11-13, 2020

Accounting for Healthcare Management

The fundamentals of financial accounting for healthcare organizations.

Part I: This course covers the fundamentals of financial accounting for healthcare organizations. It provides a look behind the financial statements used in all organizations and focuses on preparation of statements. Topics include journalizing transactions into debits and credits, double-entry accounting, creating general ledger accounts (T-accounts), and accounts receivable (including aging schedules). Examples of both for-profit and nonprofit financial statements will be reviewed.

Part II: This part builds on the technical and theoretical skills developed in the first half of the course, and will focus exclusively on unique and important issues in healthcare accounting, how these topics are conceptualized and reported, and how managers can use this information for decision making. Important topics will include the role of different standard setters in the healthcare industry (because of public and private hospitals), accounting for patient care revenues, capitation fee revenues, charity care, malpractice costs and contingencies, retrospective insurance premiums, financial condition analysis, DuPont Analysis, and the role of financial information in bond ratings. Material will be drawn from several sources, including Gapenski and Reiter Healthcare Finance: An Introduction to Accounting and Financial Management, 6th Edition , Granof et al. Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting, 7th Edition, and industry examples such as how to rate a hospital bond by Kroll Bond Rating Agency.  

3.0 credits

Health Policy & the Health System II

A deeper dive into  major health policy issues and the role of the government in the US healthcare system.

This course builds in Health Policy and the Health System I to examine major health policy issues and the role of government in the U.S. healthcare system. An important focus of the course is an assessment of the role of policy analysis in the formation and implementation of national and local health policy. Because much of government health policy relates to or is implemented through payment systems, emphasis will be placed on the discussion of the policy implications of how government pays for care. The role of the legal system with respect to adverse medical outcomes, economic rights, and individual rights is also discussed. Proposals for health policy reform at the national and local level are examined throughout the course, as well as Medicare and Medicaid reforms currently being implemented or considered.

3.0 credits

SEMESTER 3

Analyzing Data for Healthcare Management

Key principles in statistical analyses.

This course prepares students to become competent producers and consumers of data analyses and to use data-based evidence in managerial decision-making. We will emphasize understanding key principles in the meaning and use of statistical analyses, including developing understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of various methods. Topics include sampling, measures of central tendency and dispersion, hypothesis testing using parametric and non-parametric methods, correlation and multiple regression, and point and interval estimation. Students will use Microsoft Excel and other appropriate computer software to complete assignments. The course objectives are to:

  1. Demonstrate mastery of the essential concepts and tools of descriptive statistics, probability models, and statistical inference, emphasizing health services management applications.

  2. Apply what has been learned to the solution of practical problems through the development, evaluation, and selection of various statistical techniques, with emphasis on health care management issues.

  3. Foster skills for communicating and presenting data and results from statistical analysis in health care management.

  4. Use appropriate software, such as Excel, in conducting data analysis

  5. Cultivate critical/analytical thinking.

3.0 credits

Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship for Healthcare Organizations

Learn how to formulate and implement strategy in healthcare organizations, including strategy and skills to launch new ventures.

This course focuses on questions of mission and vision ("What areas or activities should we be working in?") and on questions of strategy and operations ("How can we perform effectively in this area?"). We will cover both strategy formulation ("What should our strategy be?") and strategy implementation ("What do we need to do to make this strategy work?").

All healthcare organizations—and entrepreneurial start-ups—face substantial challenges that demand strategic responses, often in uncertain economic, social, or political contexts. To deal effectively with these challenges, managers and entrepreneurs need knowledge and skills in strategic management: setting and aligning goals with the organization’s mission; handling complex trade-offs between demand for services and resource constraints; leading organizational change; defining measures of success; improving work processes; motivating staff and other stakeholders; cultivating relationships with diverse groups—often addressing issues of equity and inclusion; and dealing with crises and environments in transition. In short, the course emphasizes the multiple, related requirements of the work of managers and entrepreneurs: analysis, creativity, and action.

3.0 credits

Semester 4

Managerial Accounting for Healthcare Organizations

Planning and financial decision making for healthcare organizations.

This course incorporates topics of planning and financial decision making as applied to healthcare organizations. This course will cover two main topics:

  • Financial analysis both as a proactive exercise and a tool for organizational control.

  • Issues of budgeting, cost determination, pricing and rate setting in a healthcare environment.

The course includes lectures, problem solving and extensive case studies. Students should be prepared to discuss assigned problems and readings in class. The course integrates academic and practical approaches and perspectives on current healthcare financial problems.

3.0 credits

Healthcare Information Technology: Public Policy and Management

Understand government’s role in the development of information technology in healthcare organizations.

This course describes the growing involvement of government in stimulating and directing the development of information technology in healthcare organizations. Included is a discussion of attempts to exchange information for the purposes of improving the quality of personal healthcare and public health. Methods for determining the financial value of information technology are described. Techniques for ensuring the security and privacy of health information are presented.

1.5 credits

Principles of Human Resources Management for Healthcare Organizations

A comprehensive foundation for all aspects of human resources planning, development, and management.

This course is designed to study the essential role of human resources management within healthcare organizations. To meet the challenges of the marketplace, organizations will need to improve the quality of the services they provide; streamline their clinical delivery and support systems, and transform their human resources management accordingly. The degree to which organizations manage the people issues will, to a great extent, determine the success of our healthcare institutions. This course serves as a comprehensive foundation for all aspects of human resources planning, development, and management, including issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, and is vital to both the human resources professional and the line manager. Through the text readings, journal articles, case analyses, and student presentations, we will explore key issues and concerns in the human resources field.

1.5 credits

Semester 5

Introduction to Health Economics

Builds on data and communication skills to demonstrate how economists think about healthcare issues.

The purpose of this course is to demonstrate how economists think about healthcare issues. The emphasis will be on looking at a wide variety of health policy and management topics from an economist's perspective. Students will develop their understanding of economic theory and empirical research in key areas of health economics and will learn to apply economic frameworks to timely issues in health management. Topics to be covered include the demand for health insurance and related problems of moral hazard and adverse selection; methods for paying health care providers and related problems of agency; economics of public health and issues of externalities and public goods; organization of firms in the health care sector and related issues of firm behavior and industrial organization, including issues of patent monopoly and technological development; and the economics of health policy, including taxation. The course will also address key policy issues considered in earlier courses—including the problems of healthcare costs and uninsurance—from an economic perspective. By the end of the course, students should have a sense of how to use economic theory and empirical analysis to evaluate healthcare policy and management issues. The course will build on data and communication skills developed in prior courses.

3.0 credits

Healthcare Marketing and Strategic Communications

Branding and communications for healthcare organizations.

A healthcare organization’s brand can help it raise money, create change, and recruit participants as it effectively communicates its mission. But a brand is more than just a logo or a memorized elevator pitch, it is the way both internal and external audiences perceive your organization—and shaping this perception is as essential to the success of healthcare organizations. This course will offer an overview of branding and communications concepts, helping students approach branding in a way that builds commitment to their organization’s mission, increases trust, creates ambassadors, and strengthens impact. Students will gain a basic familiarity with a variety of branding principles and develop strategic communication recommendations for the healthcare organization where they work.

1.5 credits

Healthcare Law, Governance and Ethics

An overview and analysis of legal, policy, and ethical issues encountered by healthcare professionals.

This course explores the legal, policy and ethical issues encountered by healthcare professionals in the evolving healthcare system. Topics include government regulation of healthcare providers, patient consent to and refusal of treatment, human reproduction issues, privacy and confidentiality, tax-exemption, antitrust, fraud and abuse, mental health issues and health information management. Students will gain the ability to analyze legal and ethical healthcare resources by engaging in interactive discussions and informative research.

1.5 credits

Semester 6

Operations Management for Healthcare Organizations

A lens to perceive, examine, and understand operational processes and systems.

Operations management specifically involves the analysis, design, operation, and improvement of the systems and processes that deliver goods or services and ultimately outputs and outcomes. It is required to achieve the organization’s mission, provide value to the organization’s many stakeholders, and effectively translate policy into action. As such, operations management plays an important part of being an effective manager and policy implementer. In this course, we will develop a lens to perceive processes and systems in a variety of contexts along with an analytical toolbox to examine and understand these. Students will learn how to build basic operations models in Excel to make effective, evidence-based managerial, design, and policy decisions as well as gain defined analytical skills that lend themselves to roles in operations, management, hospital management, policy implementation, human services, consulting, and much more.

1.5 credits

Advanced Topics in Health Policy

Recent developments in health policy from strategic, economic, and political perspectives.

This course will examine recent developments in health policy from strategic, economic, and political lenses. The course has three objectives: to enable students to keep pace with key changes in the healthcare field; to promote students’ ability to analyze, and form policy and organizational responses, to new developments; and to promote students’ ability to integrate material from prior courses. Students will apply frameworks and skills developed in earlier courses to assess the forces driving these developments in health policy and to develop strategies for health care organizations to respond to these new developments. Each week of the course will address a broad area of health policy, such as cost containment, vertical and horizontal integration, quality improvement, technological innovation, health professionals, insurance coverage and managed care.

1.5 credits

Capital Financing and Advanced Issues in Financial Management

Long-term financing, capital investment, and corporate finance in healthcare organizations.

The course focuses on long-term financing, capital investment, and corporate finance as applied specifically to healthcare organizations. The course spends significant time incorporating risk into organizational decision-making. Students will learn and practice these skills through lectures, problem solving, and case studies. The course is structured to integrate both academic and practical approaches and perspectives on current healthcare financial issues.

3.0 credits

Semester 7

Continuous Quality Improvement

Skills to improve quality outcomes and accountability, based on the tools and philosophy of continuous improvement.

This course encourages students to think creatively about what it means for a healthcare organization to make quality the highest priority. We will explore the current forces driving the push toward quality outcomes and accountability at all levels and settings of healthcare, while focusing on the philosophy of continuous improvement through teamwork and statistical thinking. Students will use structural tools for analysis, decision making and performance measurement.

3.0 credits

Advanced Topics in Data/Evidence for Healthcare

3.0 credits

Advanced Simulation in Healthcare Management

A strategic simulation where you will practice working in top-management teams, thinking strategically, drawing on evidence, and making trade-offs under time pressure and constraints.

This end-event will afford students the opportunity to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program and apply them to a particular problem in healthcare management. Students will practice their skills working on teams, thinking strategically, drawing on evidence, and making trade-offs under time pressure and constraints, all as required in the real world.

This will be delivered via a strategic simulation that engages student teams in an experiential exercise. Students will need to define their organization’s mission and vision, decide which strategies to adopt, and enact them at an operations level. The problem will draw upon student learning in the program, entailing considerations of funding, budgeting, partnership, and stakeholder analysis. The technology provides students real-time feedback on processes and performance in the field.

Objectives of this end event include getting up to speed quickly in an organization; honing process skills; analyzing data and making evidence-based decisions. Students will write an individual reflective paper about their experience in the simulation.

1.5 credits

The Final Deadline for Fall 2019 Applications is July 10, 2019.

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