They don’t have patients, and it’s unlikely you’ll see one on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
But the role of physician care group manager is still important, even if these healthcare professionals don’t appear on TV.
Physician care group managers form part of the administrative backbone of the healthcare industry. This is just one of the many jobs for people who want to be involved in medicine but don’t want to be doctors or nurses. Care groups and practices need these people to survive and grow.
The job title seems self-explanatory enough, but what specifically does a physician care group manager do? What are their day-to-day responsibilities? How does one apply for such a position, and what does the future hold for it?
These are just some of the questions we answer in this job spotlight. Read on to find out more about this unique profession within the medical field and see if it might be right for you.
No one wants to take a job without knowing what it will entail. When it comes to physician care group managers, this is not an easy explanation. These people are responsible for many aspects of a practice.
A care group manager oversees the financial side of a practice. This means designing and implementing the billing process and putting systems in place to ensure prompt payment from patients as well as efficient payroll.
The job may also entail designing patient services. The doctors in a practice are ultimately responsible for the care, but the way that care is administered includes collaboration with the group manager. This is an important responsibility because it involves processes that set apart the practice from others in the field, which is a key part of attracting and retaining patients.
The job also includes the kinds of managerial and administrative tasks that are part of any office manager position. The care group manager may train new employees and organize refresher training for current employees. They also may be responsible for the implementation of general work policies.
While the care group manager does not have their own stable of patients, they do have regular interactions with patients at the practice. They also interact internally with employees.
As you may be able to tell from the amount of interpersonal interaction the job entails, being a good communicator is perhaps the most important skill a good physician care group manager needs.
Not only must this manager communicate clearly and efficiently, but they also have to exude the qualities that make people follow them. The care group manager is one of the most important leaders of the administrative and organizational sides of a practice. They should demonstrate leadership skills and the ability to practice big-picture analysis of what is working in the practice and what needs fixing.
In addition to being able to see the forest for the trees, a good care group manager must also have on-the-ground skills. A familiarity with computers in general as well as the various software programs employees use in their daily work will go a long way in proving to the staff that they can trust a manager.
Along with all of these things, this role needs to be comfortable making decisions. Their decisions come with a lot of responsibility and affect many aspects of the practice. They need to be okay with that and act when the time for analysis is over.
Educational requirements for this position can vary wildly. This is partially because there are so many different types of care groups. A small practice may not require a master’s degree, but it’s likely that a position at the top of a large network of hospitals or a university medical system will.
The field in which a physician care group manager should pursue a degree is either healthcare or business management.
Outside of a degree, there are also various professional certifications related to individual medical departments. If you have your mind set on one type of medicine, in particular, earning a certification like this is a good idea.
Once they receive their degree, the education for group managers doesn’t stop. Practices prefer managers who are constantly seeking out opportunities for professional development. There are many conferences and seminars that serve this purpose well.
Numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, show these opportunities growing much faster than the average job. Specifically, the job outlook from 2016-2026 includes a 20% growth rate.
The median pay for medical and health services manager positions in 2017 was just over $98,000 per year. While there are intricate responsibilities involved these jobs, they are well rewarded.
How to Become an Attractive Physician Care Group Manager Candidate
Getting a master’s degree is one good idea. Getting certification in a specific area of medicine is another. But there is other tangible experience you can acquire to make yourself the most attractive candidate possible for a physician care group manager position.
The most important experience you can get before applying for one of these jobs is any sort of managerial experience. It’s ideal that you would have this experience in a medical office, but even if not, many employers just want to see that a candidate has experience managing a staff.
Other bonus qualities that make candidates stand out include a nursing degree and time spent working as a medical assistant.
As with most fields, speaking another language fluently increases your desirability quite a bit. This is especially true if your second language is Spanish, as many practices need people to design services for often-underserved Spanish-speaking populations.
Common Paths to Promotion
Once you’ve attained a job as a physician care group manager, upward mobility often comes from moving to an organization of a larger size and scope. However, many group managers start by managing just a single department, so managing the entire practice is an intra-office solution.
Master’s degree programs in healthcare management are plentiful, and that extends to the internet.
Two of the most prominent online degree options in this field are through George Mason University and American University. American’s program is a Masters in Healthcare Management. George Mason’s is a Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management program.
A Lot of Responsibilities and a Bright Future
Physician care group managers may not have their names on the front of a practice, but they play an integral role in structuring the practice and implementing policies for patients and employees alike. We hope this guide has given you insight into the responsibilities and outlook for this role, arming you with more information on your job search.
When you’re ready to continue your search, check out our other resources for healthcare career help.