EMHA Program Overview Webinar

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Join us for an online Executive Master of Health Administration Program Overview webinar.

By attending you will learn:

  • How our program helps mid-to-senior-level professionals reach their potential as health care industry leaders
  • Gain insights into the online learning experience, curriculum
  • Hear questions from other students about the program

Presenter:

  • Dr. Jason Doctor, Associate Professor and Chair

Transcript

Ryan Stewart:

Hello, and welcome to the University of Southern California’s Executive Master of Health Administration online program overview webinar. I would like to go over some housekeeping items. Right now, you’re in listen only mode. Therefore, you can hear us, but we can not hear you. Feel free to type in your questions into the Q and A box as you think of them. However, we will be responding to as many of the questions as we can at the end of the webinar.

 

Ryan Stewart:

My name is Ryan Stewart, and I’m your moderator for this EMHA program overview webinar presented by Dr. Jason Doctor and Shauna Thomas. For today’s agenda, we will cover information about USC’s graduate program and the admission requirements before the Q and A session at the end. Let’s hear from Dr. Jason Doctor, associate professor and chair of the Department of Health and Policy Management, how this program helps mid to senior level professionals reach their potential as health care industry leaders.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Hi everyone, welcome to the webinar today. Let me just get my screen set up a little better so I can see the slides. Okay. I’m going to tell you a little bit about USC, a little bit about the program, and as Ryan mentioned, if you have questions, put them in the chat and he’ll relay them to me after my presentation. Let me start by talking a little bit about the Sol Price School of Public Policy. It’s a top ranked public policy school that’s been around for over 90 years.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

The USC Sol Price School of Public Policy is ranked number five this year, 2021, for top health policy and management departments, or the department is ranked in the top five. That’s the US News and World Report ranking. So we’re really a school that’s earned the public trust through pathway breaking research scholarship. We try to serve the global community countries outside the United States, the Pacific Rim, Europe, and Asia and Africa to the highest level of excellence.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

So why should you consider the USC EMHA program? Well, I’ll give you a couple of reasons. One is that you’ll be surrounded by professional peers and colleagues that will help strengthen your network. To be part of the program, you typically have to have five years of experience in the health care field, demonstrate that you’ve shown progressively greater levels of responsibility in health care, and that you’re prepared to move into a more advanced executive position. Or are in an executive or professional position and want to move into the C-suite.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

There’s a lot of flexibility with the program being online. So if you’re a busy professional, you can continue with career advancement while you maintain your job. We focus on trying to establish a diverse cohort of health care professionals. We draw from a number of areas. I’ll go into that a little bit later. We try to relate the work that you learn here to our department and school’s collaborative mission. I’ll get into some of those details later.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

We designed the program, it’s very much designed with professionals in mind, but we also want to give you a personalized USC experience. So we have in residence sessions that occur a couple of times a year so that you feel like you’re part of the university and not only taking courses online. So what do I mean by cohort diversity? Let’s start there.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

The USC EMHA cohort draws from all areas of the health care industry. Physicians, nurses, therapists, hospital executives, health plan administrators, IT professionals, people in long-term care, nursing home executives, executives from other industries who have sort of peripheral connections to health care either through products that they manufacture or services that they offer.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

We also have students who have developed health technology startups. So quite a wide range of clinical, high tech, and sort of management professionals. We do this so that we can develop class discussions that cover a big tent, are wide ranging, and that are naturally engaging and help open your mind from the particular area of health care with which you’re in to other perspectives within health care.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Here’s a little bit about me. I am the professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management of USC. I’m also the director of Health Informatics at the USC Leonard D Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. My research is in the use of behavioral economics and how to make changes to choices in the electronic health record to improve the quality of care and effect policy and health and medicine. In my past work, I’ve studied computational approaches to detecting medical errors and have established methods for evaluating the value of health care in clinical settings.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Here’s what I’m going to cover today. The program themes and executive education, a little bit about our CAHME accreditation and the areas of competence associated with that. So we recently this past year, we’re accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Care Education. We’re one of a handful of programs in the United States that offer executive training and are CAHME accredited. So right now most programs are not CAHME accredited that are executive ed. CAHME Has traditionally accredited only traditional masters in health administration programs, but we’re very proud of that accreditation.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

All right. So most of our executives have five years of experience, but we do accept people with three plus years in the field. The program consists of 12 courses with a total of 36 credits and we cover five thematic areas. The way CAHME accreditation works is that the school defines domains of competency based on the emphasis that the school focuses on for education. Then it has to demonstrate that it assesses those domains of competency and requires the students meet those domains of competency. So I’ll go over those too and those are specific to USC and don’t necessarily relate to competencies in other programs.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

So let’s start with program themes. Our first theme is thriving in transformational times through innovative leadership. That really means that health care is changing all the time. Executives have to anticipate how the health care delivery system is going to change, and they need to constantly be thinking of how to develop strategies to take advantage of new opportunities to maximize organizational benefit.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

So toward that end, we want you to gain a broad understanding in different types of leadership styles, understanding the role of how to measure if what you’re trying to change is if you’re making any impact, risk assumption and evidence based medicine in an era of population health management. So medicine has moved away from individual clinical management of patients and more towards understanding how you keep your entire cohort of patients healthy and how do you prevent harms for that cohort. Health administrators play an essential role in measuring performance of physicians and patient outcomes to achieve that population health goal.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

We also hope that you gain an understanding of statutory and regulatory changes that affect health care delivery. Those are changing all the time, and so you receive training in sort of what regulations are coming down the pipe, what are already there, and what are some of the legal requirements and other laws that may affect care that you deliver and how to trade those off against quality of care and other factors.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

We hope also that you develop a professional competency portfolio that’s based on your expertise, so that when you try to advance in your career, you can discuss the types of things that you’ve learned that you didn’t know before, and it will help you get the next job that you would like. Below each theme, I have course numbers listed to show you when we’re talking about a theme, which courses, although you only see the number you’ll at least know, you’ll get three courses that address these issues of changing times in health care and a strategic plan.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Theme two is delivering cost-effective care in an era of value-based purchasing. So we focus on understanding factors, driving health care delivery system evolution, which depends heavily on costs and outcomes or the effectiveness of treatments and how organizations can evolve to align with these objectives. So you learn something about economic analysis relating to various health care issues. You acquire competencies in solving financial problems and application of core financial skills, and you learn to understand principles and implications of various risk assumptions in health care and how those may affect financial reimbursement and utilization trends.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

The third theme is providing efficient management and administration within your job as a health care administrator. This theme is focused on fundamental factors that are associated with the operations of health care that drive better costs and clinical outcomes and improve the patient experience with things like patient satisfaction. So you will develop a broad range of professional competencies in financial management and the effective management of people in your organization. To that end you’ll develop a thorough understanding and a degree of progress towards Six Sigma and Lean Methodology and management to improve processes within health care organizations. You will be able to address emerging issues in the financing of health care that come about because of changing federal and state regulations.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

The fourth theme is developing and implementing strategies to enhance patient safety. This focuses on operationalizing outcomes that matter to payers so that the payers know that they’re getting bang for their buck and other organizations that may pay for health care, such as the governor. You’ll learn four facets of this theme. Understanding health risks, measuring performance and assessing opportunities for improving patient safety and clinical outcomes. Gaining an understanding of the tools for tracking performance and costs. Applying these tools for tracking costs and coordinating clinical services across a continuum of care, not just for a particular visit, but for a patient episode. Improving individual patient outcomes to enhance population health, which I mentioned earlier.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

The fifth theme is demonstrating organizational and clinical effectiveness through information technology. As you can imagine, the earlier themes that I discussed require a lot of performance measurement, use of the electronic health record system and understanding of patient phenotypes within that system. So what diagnoses do patient have, what treatments were they delivered, all of that information is stored within the electronic health record, and can be exchanged through health information exchanges across organizations.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

So toward that end, in order to actually implement many of the quality improvement, strategic management approaches, you do need to understand real-time data in health care, how health care information exchanges work to follow patients through the continuum of care, understanding the role of information technology so that you can talk to health IT people programmers and work with them to get what it is that you need to be an effective manager. You also need to appreciate the role of health information technology and the people who work in that area to measure patient outcomes and experiences across all the different settings in health care, long-term care, inpatient care, specialty outpatient care, and primary care, and now tele-health.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Let me talk a little bit about CAHME accreditation. As I mentioned, we’re one of a small number of programs, executive education programs that were accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Education. CAHME asked us to develop our own domains, that we would then demonstrate students’ competency. The domains that we selected were knowledge of the health care environment, critical thinking and analysis, business and management knowledge, policy and community advocacy, communication, and leadership.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Our goal in selecting these aims was to go very general and provide students with valuable career advice. There’s a movement in executive education towards students earning certificates and sometimes badges. We view our customer as the student and want to give them an experience that will last them a lifetime and help them get where they want to go with their career and not simply provide a very narrow field of knowledge.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Before I get to information on those companies, let me talk about admission requirements. To be eligible for the program and to meet qualifications for admission, you need to have attended a bachelor’s program from a regionally accredited institution. You have to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. You have to submit your transcripts from the institution you attended. If you are a USC alum, you do not need to submit official transcripts. We can look those up here. You need two letters of recommendation. We may request additional letters of recommendation, and you may provide three letters if you’d like. But the minimum requirement is two.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

This is very important, you have to send us a professional resume so we can understand your background in health care and what it is that you’ve done in the past. You need to give us a personal statement of purpose as to why it is that you would like to pursue executive education in health administration. We admit people with three plus years experience, but generally your best chance of getting in is if you’ve had five years of experience with progressively greater levels of responsibility in health care. That type of trajectory tells us that you are really working toward an executive end point for your career either becoming a vice president or working in the C-suite for an organization. All right.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Thank you, Jason.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

At this point, I’ll take any questions.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Yes. Any questions for Jason for the Q and A session? Please feel free to enter those in. We’ll answer as many as we can with the remaining time. All right. So first question we have, how long will it take me to complete my studies? I can answer this one.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Go for it, Ryan.

 

Ryan Stewart:

You’ve been talking a lot, Jason. So students have the option of enrolling as part-time students or full-time students. Full-time students can complete the program in 24 months, or as part-time students can complete it in 36 months. Then next question, how many classes are taken at once? Once again, this depends on the type of pacing students enroll as. Students who enroll as full-time take two courses per week. That will be for, excuse me, it would be six to eight credits per semester. Then part-time would be taking one course per week. That would be four credits per semester.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

There was a question about if you have to have prior knowledge of Six Sigma and Lean. You do not. We will provide that knowledge. Many of our student enrollees come from a clinical environment and they may not have had that background. If they’re a physician or a nurse and they want to become a chief nursing officer, chief medical officer, they may need to learn about Lean, but they haven’t had that experience so we provide that.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Thank you. Actually for the next question, maybe you can answer too, Jason. Do students advance at their place of work?

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

That’s a great question. We like it when we see that opportunity and we do have many students who advance at their place of work. Of course, that depends more on your place of work than it does on the program per se. But we really look to trying to identify students that can themselves identify ways to advance at their workplace or goals that they have and try to provide them with a level of education that will allow them to do that.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Thank you. Next question. I’m a physician who has been a provider for 30 years now, and now we’d like to pursue the health care administrative side of the medicine. Does this make me a competitive candidate for your program? I think I can answer this one. It’s always encouraged to reach out to your admissions advisor because everybody’s academic and professional background is different. Also, your career goals might be different, so it’s good to contact them, have a conversation to see if this program is a good fit and if you’d be a competitive candidate.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

I would just add that we do have a lot of physicians who transition to become administrators. It’s definitely something that we look for. Not among all our applicants, but if someone is a clinician and they want to change career paths, we provide an avenue for that.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Right. Next question, is there financial aid to help me? I can take this as an advisor. Financial aid is available to those who apply and qualify. One of the first things I mention to my students is fill out your financial aid form for 2021 as soon as possible while you’re planning on pursuing a graduate degree, because more than likely, you won’t see what you’re eligible for until you’ve been accepted into the program. So once again, that’s a great conversation to have with your advisor to get that process started.

 

Ryan Stewart:

All right. Next question, can I transfer credits. Now, the acceptance of transfer credits is entirely at the discretion of the registrar’s office at the receiving institution. So once again, it’s probably in your best interest to get in contact with an advisor. I see some questions about the cost of the program. Now the cost of this program is $2035 per unit, not including books and minimal university fees. So with 36 units, total costs would be $73,260.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Now next question. When is the deadline of the application? Is there a limitation for admissions? For our online Executive Master of Health Administration program, we have three entry points, a spring, summer, and a fall entry point. We’re currently enrolling for our spring 2022 term. That would start, let’s see, that would be January 5th. Application deadline will be December 1st, which is coming up soon. Here’s a follow-up question on the cost, is $76,000 for the entire two to three years or per year? That’d be for the entire program. Jason, do you think you could touch on how many students that we have in our cohorts?

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Sure. So right now for this semester, we have 24 new students and it really does vary semester to semester. We’ve had larger cohorts and we’ve had smaller cohorts, but yeah, I think that’s the best current estimate for size, for a cohort or a group coming in, in a semester.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Right. Next question, are there synchronous sessions weekly online? Now with our format, our online format, we have asynchronous scheduling with mandatory synchronous weekly or bi-weekly live sessions on Zoom. The great thing about the online format, it’s flexible scheduling. So you can log in anywhere at any time and classes are available 24/7. How does one get an advisor? It’s a great question for the next slide, Jason. Thank you. Now, phone number to contact enrollment services. 1-877-830-7625. You can reach us via email admissions@healthadministrationdegree.usc.edu. Now, once an advisor speaks with you, tell them about your background, your career goals. You can start an application for this upcoming spring 2022 term at https//usc.liasoncas.com.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Here’s one about scholarship opportunities, same thing with financial aid. There are scholarship opportunities available to prospective students through each school through our fellowship and grant database. Once again, contact your advisor as soon as possible to get that process started. I like to use the phrase, in admissions the early bird gets the worm. It’s true with it. Now we have a student asking about semester length. Semesters are for 15 weeks, and remember, depends on if you’re a part-time or full-time student [inaudible 00:25:25]. Jason, do we have any examples of types of positions that recent graduates have been placed in?

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Sure. So most of our graduates advance from a position that they had, and that just depends on what position within their organization or sometimes outside their organization they take. I should also mention that we have, as I alluded to before, also clinical enrollees who want to switch into health care administration. Those enrollees will often go pretty immediately into either clinical liaison or chief medical officer or chief nursing officer at their institution or at another institution. But it depends on your level and where you start and where you’re going.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

So if you’ve been working for five years, you might advance to become a vice-president. If you’ve been out 10 years, you might advance into the C-suite from a vice-president. So a lot of it depends on your baseline, but as I mentioned before, the program tries to give you skills that will help you out through your entire career so that even 10 years from finishing the program, you’re using those skills to advance your career and take new positions.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Let’s see. What can I expect in terms of workload and assignments? Now, Jason, maybe you could speak more on the group work or assignments that professors assign to prospective students, but as far as workload and as advisor, I recommend students dedicate 20 to 30 hours outside of their live lectures towards coursework for a full-time pacing. If you’re taking one course, the part-time pacing, I recommend 10 to 20 hours dedicated towards coursework. The great thing about that online format, once again, you get to design around your schedule.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Yeah. I would just reiterate that. You set the pacing. So if you can’t handle based on your job 30 hours, 20 hours of work, then it’s better to do part-time pacing, and then you can handle 10. If you feel you can handle more and you want to graduate more quickly, then you should do that. But we try to hold classes in the evening and give students time to complete assignments outside of work hours so that there’s not a lot of extra stress around getting assignments done and there’s not a lot of conflict with regular work schedules.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Jason, maybe you can follow up on this too, the average age of applicants.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Boy, that’s a good question. We kind of have a bi-modal group, I think. So if I were to say the average age, it probably wouldn’t be representative of most students. We have a sort of earlier career group of students who are five years out and want to move into higher responsibility positions. Then we have older professionals who’ve been in health care for a much longer time and are trying to advance to the highest levels of health administration from wherever they are. So, yeah, I think that’s probably a better way to think about it then sort of an average age.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Thank you. Let’s see. Another question about program structure. If you start as a part-time student, can you switch into full-time in the next semester or vice versa? As an advisor, I could probably speak on this. I encourage students to enroll as full-time due to financial aid requirements, but when it comes to actually changing that pacing, you’re allowed one time change from part-time to full-time. Whether it matters vice versa, that’s up to you. Is there any way we can interact with other students?

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

I can answer that. Yeah. So that is why we have this in residence program, which allows you to meet and talk with other students. In addition, the classroom work often involves group work for the live sessions, but I want to emphasize that the in residence program is really designed to get you in a place where you can meet other people directly and work with them. Traditionally, we’ve done those here at USC. The past couple of semesters because of the pandemic, we’ve done them online, but we plan to move back to in-person in residence sessions twice a year.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Thank you. Then could you speak more on how long that residency is?

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Sure. Shaunna, I know you’re on. Did you want to just tell them the length?

 

Shaunna:

Sure. It’s four days. It’s approximately four days. We meet on a Friday evening and then it’ll go through Saturday, Sunday, and half a day on Monday. Saturday and Sunday are full days.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Thanks.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Question about exams.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Yes. The program does have exams or papers, depending on the class, or presentations. But you are graded if that is the general question for your work.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Okay. Jason, could you move to the next slide? All right. Well, we want to thank prospective students for tuning in to this webinar, the Executive Master of Health Administration through the Sol Price School of Public Policy. Remember contact your advisors if you’re interested in the program to get you enrolled for the upcoming spring 2022 term. Have a great day.

 

Dr. Jason Doctor:

Thanks, Ryan.

 

Ryan Stewart:

Thank you, Jason.