If you plan to pursue your Master of Business Administration (MBA), you already know that the demand for MBA graduates is consistently strong. For MBA graduates who pursue management roles in healthcare, the demand is among the highest of any occupation.
Employment of healthcare managers and administrators is projected to grow 28% from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), compared to 8% for management occupations overall.
Healthcare is one of the most regulated industries in the U.S., which means MBA graduates with industry-specific knowledge of law and ethics may have an edge in hiring decisions. For instance, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Healthcare Administration online program includes coursework that examines law and ethics in healthcare systems.
What Is Health Law?
Healthcare services can have a powerful impact on the well-being of patients and communities, for better or worse. It is no surprise, then, that healthcare is heavily regulated by federal and state law.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health laws as “binding rules that govern the rights and responsibilities of governments, health workers, companies, civil society and a country’s population. Together these rules make up the legal framework, or legal architecture for health.”
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is a federal law that protects individuals’ medical records and other health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. Other health laws are intended to prevent fraud and abuse, such as:
- Physician Self-Referral Law (Stark Law): This law helps ensure referrals are in the patient’s best interests and do not involve financial incentives.
- Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS): This law makes it a criminal offense to offer or receive gifts, cash payments or other incentives in exchange for the use of services or products reimbursed by federally funded programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
What Is Medical Ethics?
Ethics involves decisions related to what is morally right or wrong. In the context of healthcare, the American Medical Association (AMA) defines the term “ethical” as “involving moral principles, values, and practices, as well as matters of social policy involving issues of morality in the practice of medicine.”
The Code of Medical Ethics is a pact of trust between patients and their physicians and between the profession and the public. The Code serves as a guide to ethical dilemmas, addressing topics such as:
- Physician-patient relationships, including caring for vulnerable populations
- Public health
- Organ donation
- Life-sustaining interventions
- Medical records
- Informed consent
- Advertising and marketing
Healthcare professionals, including executives, are governed by laws and ethics, which sometimes clash. As the AMA notes, a medical decision could be legally acceptable but unethical. Likewise, there may be situations where a provider feels a law is unjust or unethical.
How Can an MBA in Healthcare Administration Prepare Graduates for Success?
Given the nature of the healthcare industry, healthcare leaders must have management-level business skills and an understanding of legal and ethical considerations.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s MBA in Healthcare Administration online program blends a business foundation with healthcare administration best practices to prepare graduates for leadership roles in healthcare organizations. In addition to strengthening financial management skills to improve efficiencies and profitability, coursework equips graduates with a solid foundation in health law and ethics.
For example, the program’s Health & Law Ethics course explores legal and ethical aspects of healthcare delivery, including medical liability and malpractice. Coursework also advances knowledge in the areas of:
- Issues related to healthcare policy and politics
- The role of public policy in improving community health
- Health economics and implications for healthcare delivery and policy
Salaries suggest a solid return on investment for graduates with an MBA in Healthcare Administration. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for medical and health services managers and administrators who work in hospitals is $119,450, with the top 10% earning more than $205,620.
An MBA in Healthcare Management can open the door to one of the fastest-growing occupations, with above-average earning potential and advancement opportunities. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s MBA in Healthcare Administration can prepare graduates to meet the demand for healthcare leaders in as few as 12 months.