A healthcare risk management director’s job is to protect the reputation and assets of a hospital or medical center by identifying and addressing issues that could expose the organization to liability. Well-honed business skills and knowledge of the healthcare industry are essential for success in this field. The path to a healthcare risk management director career can begin by enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in business administration program with a specialization in healthcare management.

Job Outlook for Risk Management Directors

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of medical and health service managers, including healthcare risk management directors, is expected to grow steadily in coming years. Job prospects in healthcare should be favorable as the industry continues to expand, increasing the demand for management professionals with strong business skills. Healthcare risk management directors with relevant experience and education should enjoy the best career prospects.

Job Duties

Risk management directors oversee a hospital or medical facility’s risk management program, which involves monitoring, controlling and working to prevent risk exposure. Typical duties include advising management and administration on all potential sources of risk – from theft to hazardous work conditions to lawsuits – and making recommendations to minimize or eliminate exposure. Depending on the size of the facility, they may supervise a team of risk management specialists.

Loss prevention is a key responsibility for healthcare risk management directors, who often assist in training employees and contractors in this area. When claims occur, the risk management director typically analyzes the situation and reports all findings to management and administration. Regular summary reports are also required of most risk management directors.

Healthcare risk management directors may also establish policies and procedures for regulatory compliance, quality assurance, and patient and staff safety. They also ensure that the facility and healthcare practitioners have the appropriate liability and medical malpractice insurance coverage.

Most risk management directors have an office within a healthcare facility, and put in a 40-hour work week. However, professionals in this field may be on call after hours in the event of emergency situations.

Potential Salary

According to national salary data on PayScale.com, healthcare risk management directors typically earned an annual salary between $71,729 and $107,683 as of October 2010. Recent bachelor’s degree program graduates will typically start out in a risk management specialist role, and move into a director-level position with further experience or education. PayScale.com records showed that healthcare risk management specialists earned between $40,041 and $75,000 per year in October 2010.

Education and Training

Most risk management director jobs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business administration or healthcare management, plus related work experience. Professionals with relevant education and experience can apply for certification as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM), which may provide an advantage when applying for executive-level risk management positions.

The first step to a risk management director career can begin with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in healthcare management. Coursework typically includes essential business skills, healthcare organizations, strategic management, organizational behavior and development, and legal aspects in healthcare management.

Employers can be confident that graduates of a business administration program with a specialization in healthcare management are able to:

  • Apply fundamentals of management to healthcare business issues.
  • Implement problem-solving processes in a healthcare setting.
  • Exercise effective decision-making skills in matters of healthcare risk management.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of healthcare management and leadership.
  • Leverage advanced skills and knowledge to succeed as a risk management director.

Many employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use tuition assistance to further your education.

Pursuing a Healthcare Risk Management Director Career

Considering a healthcare risk management director career? You’ll need strong problem-solving skills and keen attention to detail, as well as the ability to communicate clearly with a wide range of people. An aptitude for numbers, computer systems and data analysis are valuable attributes, too. Risk management directors have great responsibility, and must be prepared to back all decisions with sound reasoning. If you have the essential qualities needed to succeed in a risk management director role, a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in healthcare management can put you on track to a successful career!

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