Course Descriptions

MHA 601.  Introduction to Executive Leadership in Healthcare and Ethics (2 credits) This course focuses on leadership styles within organizations, exploring the relationships between different approaches to leadership in a variety of contemporary organizational contexts.  Understanding the leadership process and development of self-awareness and skills necessary to lead will be emphasized.  Particular attention will be placed on the ethical considerations of the decision-making process and management of major strategic and organizational change initiatives.  Students will learn how to grapple with the ethical issues related to administrative and biomedical problems resulting from financial constraints, advances in technology, and the market-driven model of healthcare delivery. Case studies, discussion, role playing, and guest speakers will provide students with fresh insights into the roles, challenges, and critical decision-making skills of executives in regard to such issues as mergers and acquisitions, consolidations, restructuring, practice management, strategic planning, technology use, and e-commerce. 

MHA 605.  Healthcare Management Strategies (3 credits) This course provides an overview of the management strategies that are typically used by healthcare administrators in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Students will examine the organizational structure of the various components of the healthcare delivery system including administrative processes such as planning, decision making, evidence-based practice, productivity processes, and continuous quality improvement.  Students also will learn to identify strategic issues in complex environments and how to formulate effective responses. Emphasis will be placed on the major issues confronting healthcare administrators today and how to improve resource allocation within the organization to create essential value and quality in service delivery. 

MHA 625.  Introduction to Healthcare Accounting and Finance (4 credits) This course offers an overview of healthcare financial management to build competencies in business and analytical principles, and learn how to keep healthcare organizations financially viable.  Basic financial accounting concepts will provide an organization-level understanding of the language, concepts, processes, and key functions of financial management.  Managerial accounting principles also will be a focus of the course and include cost accounting, budgeting at the department level, and an understanding of the key role that budget development, budget management, and fiscal control play in ensuring the financial strength of healthcare organizations.  Topics will include: an overview of the healthcare system from a financial viewpoint; the healthcare revenue cycle; financial statement analysis; management of working capital; financial literacy; the time value of money and investment decision models; funding sources and debt financing; long-term capital structure; mergers and acquisitions; analyzing financial statements; cost management; legal and regulatory issues; accounting for inflation; and decision analysis techniques.  Students will apply a variety of methods including case study analysis, excel spreadsheet modeling, group problem solving, and the application of a Department Manager’s Toolkit to demonstrate competence in concepts and methods. 

MHA 610.  Organizational Behavior in Healthcare Systems (3 credits) This course provides a detailed perspective regarding how healthcare decision makers manage an organization to achieve strategic initiatives and the impact of decision-making on the behavior of people within healthcare organizations.  Focus will be placed on the understanding and real-world application of the foundational concepts, principles, and models associated with organizational theory.  This course draws on behavioral, social, and organizational sciences to analyze effective administration of healthcare institutions.  Topics will include motivation, group behavior, leadership, conflict management, decision-making, power, organizational structure, business ethics, managing change, and communication within organizations.  Analytical, integrative, and decision-making skills of students will be developed through case study analysis, discussion and role playing.  

MHA 620.  Healthcare Operations Management (3 credits) This course will explore the applications of operations management theory within the framework of healthcare organizations.  Topics to be covered will include: systems theory, waiting lines and queuing theory, quality assurance, project management, facility location and design, health information management systems, work design and productivity, forecasting, and simulation.  Focus will be placed on a variety of healthcare delivery system models including hospitals, outpatient treatment facilities, medical-group practices, managed care organizations, and long-term care facilities.  Issues regarding supply management, scheduling, productivity, cost performance, and quality assurance also will be discussed. 

MHA 630.  Healthcare Finance (3 credits) This course offers an introduction to and an analysis of selected accounting issues and will provide students with an understanding of the basics of financial and managerial accounting principles and their application to healthcare organizations.  The course will build basic knowledge of cost accounting, including full and differential costing techniques, and will focus on management control structures and processes, also addressing topics such as budgeting, reporting, and variance analysis.  Particular attention will be given to healthcare accounting practices.  By the end of the course, it is intended that non-financial managers of healthcare institutions will understand and appreciate the financial implications of operational and strategic management decision making. 

MHA 510.  Policy, Regulation, and Politics of Healthcare (3 credits) This course examines how health policy and politics at national, state, and local levels influence access to, cost, and quality of healthcare.  Students will be introduced to a variety of health issues and related policy concepts and ideas as well as the government institutions, decision-making processes, and political actors which create health policy in the United States.  The primary focus of this course will be to familiarize students with the sociopolitical environment influencing national health policy development including coverage of: health care financing, economics, and administration; health system structure; healthcare reform; the role of public opinion and special interest groups; and political leadership.  Specific policy issues which substantively influence health services delivery in Oregon also will be discussed.  

MHA 615.  Strategic Planning and Marketing (3 credits) This course provides in-depth coverage of strategic planning concepts related to the budgeting process, and explains how marketing strategies and tactics emerge from the planning process and provide competitive opportunities for healthcare organizations.  The course will focus on basic marketing concepts such as pricing, placement, product, and promotion which are essential to constructing and implementing an effective marketing strategy.  Other topics include market research, product strategy, branding, multi-cultural marketing, promotional decision making, and crisis communications.  Analysis of concepts central to the creation of competitive planning and marketing strategies will be discussed with special emphasis on the effective measurement of service area needs and social marketing concepts. 

MHA 650.  Health Services Research and Evaluation Methods (3 credits) This course provides students with a broad understanding of health services research methods and how these can be applied to the healthcare administrator’s decision-making processes.  Topics covered will include the relevance of research for policy decision-making, the use and application of common measures and statistics used by healthcare administra­tors, and the application of various research methods to evaluate healthcare programs and population outcomes.  Students will learn various theories and research methodologies, understand the foundational elements of social science research, and build the skills necessary to review and participate in health services research and program evaluations in healthcare settings.   

MHA 635.  Managing Information in Healthcare (3 credits) This course focuses on the critical role of Management Information Systems (MIS) in the planning, operations, and management of healthcare organizations, and is designed to provide students with a macro-level understanding of information technology and how it can be used to gain business and operational efficiencies in healthcare service delivery. Topics addressed will include strategic and project planning for Management Information Systems; HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and other confidentiality requirements regarding patient information; coding and informatics standards; electronic medical records; Internet applications; and the organization of information management functions within healthcare organizations. 

MHA 550.  Quality Management in Healthcare (3 credits) This course examines the definition of healthcare quality from the perspectives of patients and families, providers, insurers, policy makers, and government regulators, and clarifies the relationship between healthcare quality and organizational performance measurement.  Students will be introduced to the rationale for performance management and the role of the governing body of the healthcare organization in ensuring compliance with the standards of regulatory and accreditation organizations.  Students also will learn how to apply the various methodologies and tools for measuring quality performance in process and outcomes management, and will understand the importance of statistical applications to measure outcomes and how to apply these applications.  

MHA 515.  Managing Human Resources and Diversity in Healthcare (3 credits) This course focuses on human resources management in healthcare organizations with a strong emphasis on diversity, personnel administration, and labor relations.  Students will cover a variety of topics including: recruitment and retention of clinicians; behavioral implications of the legal-regulatory environment; compensation and benefits; economic, cultural and technical forces that affect the management of healthcare employees; conflict resolution; the importance of staff training and career development; and employee morale.  The course examines the regulations governing human resources management including occupational safety and health, fair employment practices, wrongful termination, and privacy issues.  Students also will learn about organizational theory and behavior, personnel and labor relations laws, and how to analyze human resources/labor relations issues and effectively manage problems and build strong supervisory practices. 

MHA 640.  Legal Aspects of Healthcare Management (3 credits) This course covers a broad range of legal issues relevant to healthcare management and the administrative aspects of laws that are important to organizational managers.  It is designed to provide students with insights into how the legal system works, how lawyers analyze problems, and how healthcare administrators interact with the legal system and lawyers.  The course will introduce students to a wide range of contemporary healthcare topics including how common medical errors continue to plague the healthcare system and negatively impact the reputations and financial well-being of healthcare providers, organizations, and the health and lives of patients.      

MHA 525.  Community Health and Managerial Epidemiology (3 credits) This course provides students with skills and experience in applying analytical techniques to manage population health.  Students will learn epidemiologic concepts, methods, and strategies that can be applied to health planning and healthcare management.  The primary focus of the course is on understanding the determinants of health, the measurement of health and disease, cultural beliefs and how they impact community health, emerging trends and issues in disease patterns, and community health resource allocation.  The course also will cover the use of epidemiologic methods and data to make managerial decisions, including the roles and responsibilities of health project managers; risk perception and motivation; crisis management; social marketing and health promotion; and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in analyzing population health/disease data and supporting health promotion and disease prevention. 

MHA 530.  Methods of Healthcare Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (2 credits) This course introduces students to the theory and practice of negotiation and conflict resolution including how to recognize situations that call for bargaining, what the process of bargaining involves, and how to analyze, plan, and implement successful negotiations.  Emphasis will be placed on integrating analytical skills, negotiation techniques, and conflict resolution methods into the practice of health care management. Case studies, discussion, and role playing will help students build substantive skills in conflict resolution and negotiations.  Students also will learn the overt and covert causes of conflict, the concepts for analyzing disputes, and a variety of methods that can be applied to effectively prevent or resolve conflict. 

MHA 690.  Capstone Integrative Seminar: Strategic Issues in Healthcare Management (1-2 credits) This capstone course in the healthcare administration curriculum will focus on the integration of knowledge and the application of theories, models, and techniques from preceding courses to specific strategic issues in healthcare management.  This final course will enable students to apply the skills of management to specific situations and scenarios in both the public and private sectors of the healthcare delivery system.  Case studies, discussions, and guest speakers will highlight strategic management decision making that involves a variety of topics including population health, social marketing, human resources management, financial planning and operations, health policy and regulation, and health ethics. 

MHA 675.  Internship/Capstone Research Project (1-9 credits) Upon completion of the MHA Program coursework, students will initiate and complete one of the following: a) an internship under the supervision of a faculty member and a site preceptor; b) a substantive healthcare research or health policy analysis paper under the supervision of a faculty member; or c) a field research project under the supervision of a faculty member and an institutional preceptor when appropriate.   

Internship Internships must take place within a healthcare organization under the supervision of an onsite preceptor.  The student, faculty advisor, and preceptor must agree on the selection of an appropriate project which the student must describe in writing and submit to the MHA Program Director, the faculty advisor, and the preceptor for approval.  During the internship, students must demonstrate that they can successfully apply theoretical knowledge and skills learned through the MHA coursework, and the project must demonstrate the application of quantitative and/or financial/analytic skills.  A final paper analyzing the internship and the project is required of the student, as well as routine time logs of completed project work within the institution, and a presentation of the project to the organization’s senior management, the MHA Program faculty, and fellow students.     

Healthcare Research or Health Policy Analysis Paper Under the direct supervision of faculty and the approval of the MHA Program Director, students may choose to complete a healthcare research, health management research, or health policy analysis paper of publishable quality.  Potential peer-reviewed journals for publication of the paper must be identified in advance by the student, and the research designed, conducted, and reported according to the peer-review standards of one of the cited journals.  Students will be required to submit a copy of the journal standards as well as complete and submit a formal research proposal for approval by the faculty and the MHA Program Director.  Specific proposal guidelines adopted by the MHA Program will be provided to students for this project.  Students also will need to meet all Institutional Review Board requirements established by Pacific University.  During the course of the research, students will be required to demonstrate that they can successfully apply theoretical knowledge and skills learned through the MHA coursework, particularly in regard to research design and methodology.  Upon completion of the research, students will be required to present and defend the research before the faculty and fellow students. 

Field Research Project Students will be afforded an opportunity to conduct a field research project on a specific healthcare management problem in a community or institutional setting.  A formal research proposal must be prepared, submitted, and approved by the faculty, the MHA Program Director and the institution involved in the research.  Specific proposal guidelines adopted by the MHA Program will be provided to students for this project.  Students also will need to meet all Institutional Review Board requirements established by Pacific University.  During the course of the project, students will be required to demonstrate that they can successfully apply theoretical knowledge and skills learned through the MHA coursework, particularly in regard to research design and methodology.  All projects will be designed collaboratively between students and faculty to round out a student’s integrative experience in the MHA Program.  Field research projects/papers must be presented to the faculty, the institution or community of research, and fellow students, and defended by the student.