Putting the Health Care Administration Certificate to Work

MBA Student, Donna DubucCould you tell us about your background and describe your current position at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Keene? What sparked your interest in the Health Care Administration program?

I have 20 years of experience in health care marketing communications and development. I have helped for profit and non-profit health care providers and systems communicate with target markets using a range of media. As director of development at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Keene, I am primarily responsible for fundraising, but I also support public affairs, media relations, physician relations, advertising, and market planning.

I was interested in PSU’s program because it places the discipline of management into my daily environment. The PSU program enhanced my understanding of the history of health care in the U.S. and other countries, and broadened my understanding of reimbursement, policy, and regulation. I enjoyed learning about things like the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the Health Care Laws and Ethics class, as these are issues that influence care in a hospital setting.

What courses, professors, or aspects of the Health Care Administration program have significantly influenced your way of thinking and operating in the workplace?

Survey of Issues in Health Care Administration allowed me take a step back and a step away from today’s health care system to understand how it has evolved throughout the world. That critical objective perspective has been enormously helpful. One of the things that makes change difficult is when people say, “We’ve always done it this way.” This class helped me to see that there are other ways to design a health care system, that change is possible. We may soon see changes if health care reform creates new payer relationships.

What opportunities did the Health Care Administration program provide for you that you would not have been able to experience otherwise?

Our field trips included visiting a LEAN manufacturing environment and the Supreme Court. I saw a national speaker discuss critical access hospital reimbursement funding at a Health Care Financial Management and Acquisitions (HCFMA) conference while I was working at a critical access hospital. I met many people from other non-profit health care systems in NH and VT.

My capstone project (creating a development plan for a hospital) gave me the opportunity to focus on fundraising in a way that broadened my understanding and capacity. While fundraising was a part of my job for many years, it had never been the sole function. Through the capstone experience, I gained an appreciation for the fundraising process while directing a fundraising program that helped me secure my current position.

Would you like to share additional thoughts about your time as a graduate student at PSU?

I started my graduate work in Boston, but soon began searching for a program that better met my academic, social, and intellectual needs as a working professional. I was looking for a program where my classmates, like me, had work experience to relate to the course content. I found that PSU’s program was ideally suited for adults working in hospital settings who may have ascended into management positions from clinical posts without any formal business training. I have enjoyed the camaraderie of mid-career adults in a supportive learning environment. The Health Care Administration program allows you to gain the credentials, skills, and experience to be an effective manager in a way that gives meaning and pertinence to daily practice in this highly specialized industry.


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