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Introduction

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The two ultimate responsibilities of mid-level healthcare managers are:

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  1. Identifying and implementing the means for professionals to provide quality care to each of their patients.

  2. Contributing to the goals and protecting the interests of their organizations so that necessary resources for providing that care are available.

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The balance and coordination of these responsibilities depend on the ability of managers and leaders to grasp the fundamentals of organizations, leadership, and management and to appreciate the unique business of healthcare.

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The four chapters in this section of the text provide the context for the contemporary challenges facing physical therapists who are managers or who seek to become managers in any type of healthcare organization. First, the potential opportunities and career paths that can lead to mid-level and executive management positions in healthcare are defined. Questions about the roles of physical therapists as managers in healthcare organizations are raised for consideration by the physical therapy profession.

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Next, with these possibilities and questions in mind, the management of the complex, changing nature of healthcare organizations in the United States is introduced. The cultures of different types of healthcare organizations and systems are explored in the context of their responsibilities to, and the expectations of, the communities they serve. Clarifying the differences between healthcare leaders and managers assists readers in understanding how the goals of healthcare organizations are achieved.

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The third chapter introduces healthcare as a unique business that requires every manager to develop a comprehensive view of the interactions of the stakeholders in the U.S. healthcare system and their influence on the access, quality, and costs of patient care. The types of health insurance and the regulation of insurance are presented in Chapter 4.

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For health professionals who are not managers, Section 1 provides information that may facilitate discussions between physical therapists and their managers as important questions are raised about work ethics and healthcare organizations.

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