For every five dollars spent in the United States, approximately one dollar is spent on some form of health-related services: accounting for 18% of our gross domestic product and over 12 million jobs.
The healthcare and medical services sector also makes up a significant segment of the Charleston labor market, employing approximately 10% of tri-country residents. Fueled by rapid population growth, an increasing proportion of residents aged 65 and older, and the recent expansion of healthcare coverage, this segment of the workforce has grown significantly over the past two decades - 47% since the year 2000 - and demand for qualified workers is projected to continue to exceed the national average.
The School of Professional Studies (SPS) took these statistics into account when developing concentration tracks for the Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) degree completion program. Noting that courses in healthcare and medical services management would provide students with a directly applicable, and highly sought-after skill set, the SPS added this concentration to the program in the Fall of 2015- bringing with it several courses not previously offered at the College of Charleston.
In the ensuing academic year, many students from outside of the BPS program expressed interest in these unique and advantageous programs, with half of the students enrolled in the first Healthcare and Medical Services Management course coming from outside of the SPS. This trend, along with consultations with various departments and programs at the College, led School of Professional Studies Dean Godfrey Gibbison to propose that the SPS offer a Healthcare and Medical Services Management minor.
The Healthcare and Medical Services Management (HMSM) minor, which will be offered to CofC students beginning in Fall 2016, offers a pathway for those students outside of the SPS who would like to gain an understanding of the overall functioning of the US healthcare system. While students could previously take HMSM courses as electives, the minor offers students a beneficial credential to add to their transcripts, and has also allowed the SPS to expand their offerings in this subject area. The minor, which encompasses courses such as Healthcare Law and Regulation, and Healthcare Operations Management, complements several existing majors at the College - including Business Administration, Public Health, and Exercise Science - and also provides important background knowledge for students who intend to continue on to graduate study in the healthcare field. “Healthcare is much more than medicine,” says Gibbison. “There is a complex system of laws, regulations, finance and economics, that influence the practice and delivery of care. Every professional who enters the healthcare industry needs to understand these complexities and connect them back to patient-centered outcomes. We introduce students to these complexities so that they will enter this industry with a patient-centric attitude.”
As the demand for medical services increases, so too will the need for qualified employees with a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare system, and its related administrative practices: the Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that this burgeoning area of the healthcare field could grow by as much as 22% over the next decade. While some executive and middle-management positions - such as hospital administrators - do require an MBA or other graduate-level training, the range desirable skills and available positions means that there should be ample opportunity for entry into this field. “The complexity and shear economic power of the healthcare industry provides many opportunities for non-clinicians to find a pathway to a career,” says Gibbison. “This minor will help students explore these many pathways and broaden their career horizon.”
The Healthcare and Medical Services Management minor is open to any student pursuing an undergraduate degree at the College of Charleston, however, students in the Bachelor of Professional Studies program may only add this minor if they are not currently enrolled in the HMSM concentration. Interested students will find a complete listing of the course requirements on the School of Professional Studies Minors webpage, and may contact the SPS for additional information.