Health Planner / Medical and Health Services Manager

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Research, write, implement and monitor plans and procedures to develop and deliver diagnosis and treatment for individuals or health and wellness services for local, regional and national populations. Health planner is a career under the larger umbrella occupational grouping of Medical and health services managers. Medical and health services managers have an overall responsibility to plan, direct, coordinate and supervise medical and health services in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, managed care organizations and similar organizations. In any particular setting, they can have either an expansive, or a more narrowly defined, range of responsibilities and duties depending on where they work; their level of authority; and their education, experience and expertise.

The broad range of responsibilities of medical and health services managers may include conducting and administering fiscal operations, such as accounting, planning budgets, authorizing expenditures, establishing rates for services, and coordinating financial reporting. They also may direct, supervise and evaluate the work activities of medical, nursing, technical, clerical, service, maintenance, and other personnel, as well as recruit, hire, and train employees. They furthermore may establish and maintain communication among governing boards, medical staff, and department heads by attending board meetings and coordinating interdepartmental activities.

In larger organizations or facilities, higher-level medical and health services managers often will have assistant administrators and department managers who assist with daily decisions and activities for part or all operations. Department areas can include personnel, finance, and facility operations including delivery of services to patients or customers. By contrast, top administrators in smaller organizations or facilities may personally handle more of the details of such day-to-day operations.

Health planners primarily work for larger non-profit or for-profit organizations, such as hospitals or large nursing home businesses, or for government agencies, such as local or regional public health departments or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In whatever setting they work, health planners have responsibility for researching and developing plans and procedures to deliver either clinical healthcare diagnoses and treatments and services to individuals or population-based health, wellness and disease prevention services that benefit local, regional or national communities. They may also help implement and monitor the plans and procedures they develop.

Public health planners are involved when the planning focus is population-based and concerns health and wellness or disease prevention services that are designed to benefit local, regional or state communities or the entire nation. In whatever setting they work, all health planners rely on clinical and population health research, relevant data, and statistical analysis methods to inform their planning designs, recommendations and timetables.

In 2011, the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council within the U.S Office of the Surgeon General announced release of a new comprehensive plan to help increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. This National Prevention Strategy concludes that good health comes not just from receiving quality medical care, but also from clean air and water, safe outdoor spaces for physical activity, safe worksites, healthy foods, violence-free environments and healthy homes. It stresses that prevention should be woven into all aspects of life, including where and how Americans live, learn, work and play, and that everyone has a role in creating a healthier nation.

The National Prevention Strategy provides a practical illustration of how health planning research and analysis contributes to a nationwide health education campaign.

Within local community health departments and such federal agencies as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), public health planners will use information compiled by local health inspectors, disease prevention specialists, and community health workers as well as other public health analysts and public health advisors to plan ways to improve the health and wellness of the communities that they serve. This same information can also be used by other health planners in hospitals to better inform plans for meeting the clinical diagnoses and treatment needs of individuals by doctors and other medical practitioners.

Advancement opportunities for health planners will vary depending on employer, type and level of education and training, and experience and responsibilities. Within many agencies and organizations, opportunities to advance to a supervisory or broader management position may be available from time-to-time.

Credentials Needed: Health planners are not required to be state licensed or registered to practice in this field. However, if a health planer is also a practicing Registered Nurse or physician, for example, they will be required to meet the state licensing or other requirements of such underlying professions.

Some Key Things to Remember: Health planners are responsible for researching and developing plans and procedures to deliver either clinical healthcare diagnoses and treatments and services to individuals or population-based health, wellness and disease prevention services that benefit local, regional and national populations. They may also help implement and monitor the plans and procedures they develop. Employers generally prefer a master's degree in health education, business planning or a related field to obtain entry-level employment as a health planner. There are no state licensure or registration requirements for this career.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
17% - Faster than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $73,710 - $127,030    Hourly: $35 - $61
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
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Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Bachelor's Degree (High School + 4 or more Years)
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Percent Job Growth:

17% - Faster than average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $73,710 - $127,030

Hourly: $35 - $61