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Opus College of Business

Health Care Primer

Health Care Primer
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Why is health care so complicated? It doesn’t matter where you find yourself in the health care system; this question is on everyone’s mind. However, it can be answered by breaking down the complex system into easily digestible components. With our experts at St. Thomas, we invite you to engage in understanding the big picture of health care, and see where there are opportunities for you to succeed as a professional.

The Health Care Primer is designed to be engaging and informative for those who seek an orientation to the health care industry. Whether you are new, in-transition or looking for support in your continued learning, this program will provide you with an overview of the American health care system.

Get an edge on understanding the model of health care in America so that you will be able to:

  • Describe the different organizational structures of the health care delivery system and the corresponding financing relationships.
  • Identify the complex system relationships that exist between hospitals, physicians, payer systems, suppliers, government entities and consumers.
  • Blend critical thinking with systems dynamics to effectively develop and defend proposals for health system improvements and a strategy for their implementation.


Today’s Model of Health Care Meets the Future – Be a Leader in Understanding the Health Care System

The Health Care Primer takes you through four in-class learning modules over the course of one day to give you a comprehensive educational experience. You will leave the classroom with an increased ability to be a more informed decision maker, contributor, and influencer in your day-to-day interactions within a health care-focused organization.

Module 1: Overview – The Business of Health Care

There are a mix of private sector and government stakeholders in the American health care system. To navigate the industry successfully, start by developing insight into how regulations, consumerism and costs all work together. The first session of this program addresses the complexities through discussion-based learning, giving you a deeper understanding of:

  • Pros and Cons of the U.S. Health care System
  • Systems Components
  • Health Policy: History and Relationship to Reform Proposals
  • Markets
  • Government Systems
  • Emerging Trends and Solutions for the Future

Module 2: Financing – Where does the money come from—and who gets it?

Regardless of your role in health care, cost and payments are at the core of how the system operates and how you as a consumer interacts within it. This session walks you through the financial components of health care: health plans, systems financing, payment methods and insurance issues as related to government, employers and individuals. Through active learning, you will solidify your ability to engage in dialogue about:

  • Organizational Structures (Hospitals, Clinics, Health Plans, Supply Chain)
  • Health Insurance
    • Underwriting
    • Moral hazard protections
    • Payers
    • Managed Care
    • Payment Systems
    • Fee for Service
    • Capitation
    • Quality Incentives
    • Costs

Module 3: Patients and Populations – How can I effectively engage?

A base understanding of the business and finances of health care only takes you so far. Health care at its core focuses on people. Now more than ever, our model is turning to focus on helping people live the healthiest lives possible. This module prepares you to be in a better position to analyze current trends and the future of health care of the following related topics:

  • Population health
  • Chronic disease management
  • Wellness
  • Patient engagement
  • Culture
    • Health care delivery culture
    • Cultural communities

Module 4: Team Simulation: Creating a major improvement in a health care system

To be an effective contributor or leader within health care, it is essential to recognize the various stakeholders who will have an impact on your work—or who will be impacted by your work. For this reason, a simulation is embedded into the program to inspire critical and innovative thinking around real life scenarios. Use the simulation experience to increase your personal effectiveness in health care. The experience will translate well, whether you are working across teams or the entire system. Simulation elements include:

  • Working through a case study to develop a major improvement in the health care system
  • Real-time discussion with your peers in the classroom who provide a stakeholders lens
  • Developing a final action plan to present to your classmates

Who should attend

The Health Care Primer is a program well suited for:

  • new employees of health care companies
  • employees of companies that are suppliers to the health care system
  • individuals who are evaluating changing careers to health care

Professionals at any level in their career are welcome to attend. If your goal is to get a solid foundation of the American health care system, then this program is right for you.

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