Medical Office Management is a career path that is both challenging and rewarding. As a medical office manager, you will have the skills to understand every facet of a medical practice including billing, reimbursement, human resources, and compliance. Often the medical office manager is the person who holds the medical practice together from a business perspective. Medical professionals will deliver care, while you will make sure that they can continue to deliver that care.
Medical Office Management is the general term for medical office managers. The job description of a medical office manager varies, however there are certain requirements for the position. First, you will have to understand the billing and coding process. Because health costs are normally reimbursed by the government or insurance companies, it is necessary to make sure that medical professionals are billing under the right codes for services.
Second, you will have to understand record keeping and privacy issues. In a medical practice, you will see potentially hundreds of private medical records on a weekly basis. Knowing that there could be potential HIPAA violations, you must keep these records both organized and confidential. This includes developing or implementing an electronic medical records system or simply making sure the files are stored in an organized fashion.
Finally, you will be viewed as the staff manager. Beyond medical professionals such as physicians and nurse practitioners, medical offices have many other staff members. You will be responsible for filling positions, working with staff on employment needs, and making sure the staff is supported with the proper resources.
Beyond these necessary components, it will also be useful to understand issues of compliance. These issues include protocol for medical records or even different documents you must maintain for reimbursement purposes. Other useful skills include financial accounting, tax knowledge, and market knowledge. Above all, in this role you will be viewed as the business manager for these practices and you must understand as much as possible to fulfill your duties.
Previously, a medical office manager worked in a setting owned by physicians and other medical professionals. However, since 2000, hospitals employing physicians have increased 75%. This does not mean that medical offices have disappeared, in fact, still near 50% of physicians practice on their own. However, it does mean that several available positions for medical office managers are available through hospitals.
According to the BLS, Medical Office Manager positions are expected to increase 16% in the next 10 years. This is actually a huge number. These positions are still available in medical practices owned by physicians and hospitals. In fact, with the increasing number of physicians being employed by hospitals, hospitals need managers that are able to manage these physicians. Often, the resources offered to these medical office managers is more substantial in hospital systems simply because you do have a much larger support staff. Overall, the outlook is excellent.
Salary and Benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a medical office manager in a physician practice is $74,000 per year. Bear in mind that this ultimately depends on the size of the practice and whether it is owned by a hospital. Some practices are in the thousands while others are a single physician practice.
According to the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management here are averages for specialty practices:
- $54,314 in gastroenterology;
- $54,201 in dermatology;
- $58,899 in cardiology;
- $48,793 in ophthalmology;
- $44,910 in obstetrics and gynecology;
- $51,263 in orthopedics;
- $51,466 in pediatrics;
- $48,814 in internal medicine; and
- $47,152 in family practice.
Although these are just averages, in larger practices executives may be distinguished from medical office managers since there are likely multiple practice sites. Therefore, these positions will offer a lot of growth in many different settings.
Although many medical office managers have a bachelor’s degree, any medium to large practice manager has their MHA degree or their healthcare management degree or MBA. In hospitals, this is especially necessary for the future. Hospitals are looking for managers that can not only manage the practice but can also move up in the organization into different roles. In the future, it will be absolutely necessary to have a healthcare administration degree.
Please feel free to search our directory to look for these programs to start you future career in medical office management.