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BUS 5651 Healthcare Policy

Course Description

This course analyzes key contemporary issues in healthcare policy. This course includes design and structure of the U.S. healthcare system, policy initiatives and the roles of government, the private sector, consumers, and advocacy groups in setting policy agenda.

Week 1

Lecture: Introduction
Lecture: Overview of Healthcare Finance
Lecture: Reimbursement


  • Define key terms
  • Describe the healthcare finance system
  • Explain the types of regulatory drivers of the healthcare finance system
  • Outline the decision-making process in a healthcare organization
  • Describe the Medicare reimbursement systems for hospitals, physicians, and ambulatory surgery centers
  • Describe the billing and coding system for health services

Week 2

Lecture: Managed Care
Lecture: Consumer Driven Health Plan
Lecture: Overview of Managed Care Contracts, Part I
Lecture: Overview of Managed Care Contracts, Part II


  • Analyze the basic methods of payment for healthcare firms
  • Define the basic healthcare pricing formula
  • Be able to list some of the important considerations when negotiating a managed care contract
  • Define key managed care terms
  • Define four main activities of health plans
  • Describe some of the methods by which providers are paid in a managed care environment
  • Describe the legal and regulatory issues that affect MCOs

Week 3

Lecture: Accounting
Lecture: Financial Statements


  • Describe the differences between financial and managerial accounting
  • Understand the differences between the accrual and cash basis methods of accounting
  • Analyze fund accounting and the three categories of net assets
  • Discuss the accounting conventions that affect the application of accounting principles
  • Identify four major types of financial statements and explain the type of information provided on each
  • Recognize and distinguish between the types of allowances that affect healthcare organizations’ receivables
  • Discuss the major components of a statement of revenue and expenses

Week 4

Lecture: Financial Ratio Analysis
Lecture: Hospital Specific Ratios


  • Describe the balanced scorecard and dashboard reporting
  • Explain the most important measure of financial success
  • Analyze what a healthcare firm's primary financial objective should be
  • Describe the critical drivers of financial performance
  • Discuss relevant healthcare performance measures

Week 5

Lecture: Strategic Financial Planning


  • Describe the relationship between financial planning and strategic planning
  • Define the requirements for effective financial planning and policy making
  • Explain how management control is used in conjunction with the financial plan

Week 6

Lecture: Cost Concepts
Lecture: Activity-Based Costing
Lecture: Budgeting


  • Define key cost concepts
  • Explain the difference between controllable and noncontrollable costs
  • Discuss the types of costs that might be relevant when considering alternative projects
  • Define activity based costing
  • Discuss the relationship between planning, budgeting, and control
  • Describe the steps in the budgeting process

Week 7

Lecture: Management Control and Variances


  • Describe a budget and how management uses it
  • List the major types of budgets and describe how they are used
  • Explain the budgeting process
  • Define key variances
  • Define variance analysis and how it is used by management
  • Explain and calculate price, efficiency, and volume variances

Week 8

Lecture: Capital Project Decision-Making Process
Lecture: Mergers and Acquisitions
Lecture: Capital Formation


  • Explain who is involved in the capital investment decision process
  • Discuss the stages of the capital decision-making process
  • Understand what types of information are needed to evaluate a capital investment decision project
  • Define key words
  • Explain some possible reasons for consolidations, mergers, and acquisitions
  • Understand the common methods for valuation of a potential target firm
  • Identify the sources of equity financing
  • Discuss the major bond-ration agencies and explain their role in the debt market
  • Describe alternate debt financing sources

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. November 2011