Health Care Department receives first-place ranking

The Executive Health Care Administration Masters Program offered at Trinity was recently ranked first in the nation by Modern Healthcare magazine.

The executive program is one of the two Health Care Administration master’s programs offered at Trinity. The more traditional, on-campus program is for full-time students who typically have just gotten done with their undergraduate degrees and have a year or two of experience in healthcare. Students take four semesters of classes and then do a one-year internship in a hospital or any medical practitioner’s office. The executive program is a more flexible plan that more experienced adults typically gravitate toward.

“The executive program is for people working full-time in the healthcare industry who come and take two to three classes a semester and spend two to three days on campus at the beginning of each semester, and then we do webinars and teleconferences for the rest of the semester,” said Edward Schumacher, associate professor of health care administration.

Both the executive and full-time programs are viable paths students take to earn a master’s in health care administration. Only the executive program received the number one ranking.

“The ranking is for the executive program specifically for physicians. It’s ranked the number one program for physicians who want to get their masters in health management,” Schumacher said.

Factors that Modern Healthcare magazine take into consideration when ranking this particular program include how long it takes to complete the program (shorter programs get a better score), days spent on campus (the fewer days getting a better rank), the amount of alumni the program produces (the program has been around since 1965), and tuition.

“The metrics that they’re using to measure quality probably not really measuring quality. We love being number one, but I don’t know how much of this matters,”  Schumacher said.

The Health Care Administration program trains students to be knowledgeable about the ins and outs of management in a hospital. The executive program in particular is becoming more applicable to those already practicing medicine.

“More and more physicians are having to know the medical side of healthcare, but they also have to understand the administrative and management side of health care. Their business is getting more complicated because of this,” Schumacher said

Trinity currently offers health care management and administration courses for undergraduates. Many of the students who take these courses are pre-medical students or students who want to work in health care, but may not want to go to medical school.

Todd Thames, a family physician in San Antonio, completed the executive program and now teaches a few courses here at Trinity. He offers his advice as to the importance of knowing the managerial and administrative side of a hospital system.

“It is vital to learn and have a better understanding of the industry of health care in the U.S. in order to assume the leadership role in health care delivery demanded of physicians. The system of delivery and the payment mechanisms for health care in this country are extremely complex, and most new physicians have very little understanding of how the the larger industry of health care actually works,” Thames said. “This leads to frustration on the their part and also results in erroneous assumptions about the strengths and weaknesses of how we provide for health care in this country. A more developed understanding in this regard will result in being a better doctor.”

The programs are fairly small, with the on-campus program having around 50 students, and the executive program 8-10.

“I think we have a great program. We’ve got really good alumni, a great faculty, and our students have gone on to do good things,” said Schumacher.