Care Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Care managers provide health care to patients and manage health care facilities. There are many types of health care managers, including medical services managers and health information managers. In general, employers require at least a bachelor's degree in nursing, business or a health sciences field for a health care manager position, along with one to two years of work experience. Licensing and certification may also be required, depending on the position.

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Care Manager Job Description

Care managers may function as both health care providers and facility supervisors. As health care providers, care managers provide for their patients by matching patient needs with appropriate services. Health information managers are responsible for maintaining and updating patient records. Care managers who act as facility supervisors may be in charge of business operations and oversee patient care at clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities.

Job Duties of a Care Manager

A care manager who works as a health care provider works directly with patients. When patients are admitted, the care manager communicates with them to assess their needs and then consult with health professionals to decide on which services to provide. Additionally, these care managers may contact insurance companies to determine a patient's plan coverage.

Specialized managers may inform patients regarding general preventative care practices as well as individualized care plans. Heath information managers keep track of patients' records, especially electronic records, and must keep current with computer technology, software, security measures, and legislation regarding patient privacy and other issues.

Medical or health services care managers who manage facilities are responsible for streamlining business operations and instituting measures to improve care. Other managerial duties include analyzing business processes, creating and reviewing budgets, coordinating with other managers, and assessing business performance. These health care managers may use technological advancements to improve business operations and streamline processes. Additionally, supervisory care managers create schedules, evaluate personnel, and give performance reviews.

Requirements to Become a Care Manager

Care managers may need to satisfy a number of requirements to start their careers, from completing an accredited educational program to obtaining certification. Some care management positions may also require licensing.

Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers typically need a master's degree in a field such as public health, business administration or health sciences to qualify for most jobs (www.bls.gov). The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) accredits master's degree programs in health care administration and management (www.cahme.org).

However, the BLS noted that a bachelor's degree may be enough for some entry-level positions, especially at smaller clinics or health care facilities. Some physicians' offices may even substitute on-the-job training for a formal education.

The BLS also reported that health information managers usually need a bachelor's degree from an accredited program in health information management. The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accredits associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs at colleges and universities across the U.S. (www.cahiim.org).

Certification

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) to health information managers (www.ahima.org). Prospective applicants must successfully complete a CAHIIM-accredited health information management (HIM) program, or a program from another country that has a reciprocity arrangement with AHIMA. Applicants must also pass a certification exam. Applicants are recertified every two years by completing 30 continuing education units (CEUs).

Licensing

Some care manager positions require licensing. According to the BLS, every state in the union plus the District of Columbia mandates licensing for nursing home administrators. In addition, some states requires managers of assisted living facilities to be licensed as well. Those who are interested in managing these types of care facilities should check the licensing requirements of the state in which they wish to work.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow by 22% between 2010 and 2020. The median annual salary earned by these managers was reported as $88,580 in May 2012 by the BLS.

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