The current discussion on healthcare financing is heavily weighed upon by two major influences: politics and economics.
Both groups believe that healthcare, or at least the provision of adequate healthcare, should be a public priority. But they have major divergent views about how to best move forward. There are two major health financing mechanisms at work in the US.
Health finance healthcare refers to the provision of healthcare by public and private sector entities.
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The primary actors in the health services market include the government official, private institutions, private individuals, health insurance companies and tertiary hospitals. Health finance healthcare involves direct and indirect funding of health services. The direct method of financing involves transferring money from one area of the economy to another for the purpose of providing healthcare; this is usually done through direct government supply of vouchers or benefits to the affected individuals.
Tertiary hospitals operate on a cash basis, drawing funds from both government sources and private sources.
They provide healthcare services to people who need it and receive payment from those who require it. Direct healthcare financing transactions involve the transfer of monies from the government’s fiscal base to the facilities themselves. These transfers do not appear as debt to the facility, since they are not loans. This form of financing has been described as a form of stimulus package for the hospitals themselves.
The Healthcare industry includes the management and oversight of the healthcare financial systems.
The role of healthcare financial analysts is to assist government officials and private sector entities with the implementation of healthcare financial systems, in terms of cost management and policy frameworks. Finance healthcare analysts ensure that healthcare facilities are able to cope with unexpected events, such as unexpected staff shortage or sudden illness.
It takes at least several years of study to become a finance healthcare financial analyst.
Finance graduates typically begin working as accountants or public accountants, and then move on to work in other healthcare related fields, such as hospital administration, insurance companies and private investors. Graduates can expect to start with jobs in either healthcare agencies or in the finance department of a hospital. While a degree does not necessarily guarantee employment, it certainly helps, as finance graduates have a range of industry-related job opportunities waiting for them.
A qualified healthcare finance analyst must be knowledgeable about tax laws, reimbursement laws, health care financing options, financial markets, health law, risk management, and accounting.
Healthcare companies often make use of financial analysts to help them assess their long-term needs, their strategy for meeting their short-term obligations, and their ability to withstand financial challenges. In addition, a knowledgeable and capable healthcare financial analyst is valuable to healthcare providers, because he or she can better understand their internal and external business plans and assist them in developing and implementing these plans.
Finance jobs in hospitals fall under several specialized fields.
One field that requires healthcare finance analysts is hospital administrators, or simply administrators. Administrators direct and manage the departments that maintain the facilities that house patients. Other administrators directly manage healthcare facilities and make decisions about how the facility will utilize its resources. To become an effective hospital administrator, healthcare experts usually obtain at least a bachelor’s degree, although some hospitals prefer to hire an associate’s degree program, as this allows the person to focus more on clinical and administrative aspects of the job.
Another field in which healthcare financial analysts find employment is in the insurance industry.
Insurance companies are required to reimburse providers for medical expenses, so they often require healthcare professionals to assess their coverage and benefits. The role of an insurance manager often requires financial analysts to devise plans to maximize insurance company profits. Financial analysts can find employment in hospitals, insurance companies, and even on the Board of Directors of healthcare entities.