Health Care Management

Associate Degree

Program Outline

This outline covers all four semesters of your degree program. You will receive credit for previous college coursework if you meet Penn Foster College standards. If you wish to receive credit for previous coursework, contact the college you attended and ask that your transcripts be forwarded to Penn Foster College for evaluation. All previous college work must have been completed with a grade of "C" or better, and as much as 75% of the required credits may be transferred. We will also credit your tuition for all the courses that are acceptable.

The first course, Basic Skills Assessment, is available online only, which allows you to start studying right away. You will not receive hardcopy program materials for these lessons. You can access your first course as soon as your tuition payment has been received. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program. Access to Microsoft® Office 365 is a requirement for this program.

Online Library and Librarian
Students at Penn Foster College have access to an online library during their college studies. Students can use the library to do the required course research or for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and will assist students in research activities.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal
The Health Care Management Associate's Degree program prepares students for an entry-level career in health care management in which they'll plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services.

Program Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Recognize how to improve efficiency and quality in delivering healthcare services
  • Describe why it is important to keep up to date on new laws and regulations
  • Identify how to supervise assistant administrators in facilities that are large enough to need them
  • Discuss the management of the facility’s finances, such as patient fees and billing
  • Explain the creation of work schedules
  • Recognize how to represent the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards
  • List the steps to keep and organize records of the facility’s services
  • Recognize appropriate and professional communication concerning members of the medical staff and department heads


Semester 1

Basic Skills Assessment
All degree applicants are required to complete two Basic Skills Assessments, one in reading and one in math, to determine the level of readiness for beginning their selected program. Additional studies may be required.

Introduction to Allied Health (1 credit)
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program, and get an introduction to health care, the health information management industry, and the role that health information technicians play in that industry.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
  • Describe reimbursement systems and the role health information management technicians play in reimbursement.
  • Describe how technology is used in health information management.
  • Discuss different professional organizations and certifications for health information management technicians.
  • Explain the different roles, opportunities, and settings for health information management technicians.

Law, Ethics, and Confidentiality in Allied Health (3 credits)
In this course, you'll learn how law affects medical offices, the origin of law that affects medical professionals, the basics of the process of litigation and its alternatives, the common-law basis for the confidentiality of health-care information, and the laws regulating healthcare information collected and maintained by government agencies.


  • Describe civil and criminal law, sources of law, and the steps of litigation
  • Distinguish between liability, negligence, and malpractice and explain how they relate to medical professionals
  • Explain the impact of healthcare legislation changes on medical professionals
  • Explain defenses against medical malpractice and criminal charges
  • Identify the various ethical issues that medical professionals face
  • Explain the uses and content of medical records
  • Describe the legal significance of confidentiality obligations
  • Explain the core concepts of HIPAA's final Privacy Rule
  • Summarize the role of peer review in confidentiality issues
  • Describe confidentiality and security issues related to electronic medical records

Information Literacy (1 credit)
Get better at finding and using information!


  • Search the Internet more effectively.
  • Get tips about search engines and reliable websites.
  • Learn how to search libraries and other information centers for important, useful information.

English Composition (3 credits)
This course teaches the skills and techniques of effectively developing, drafting, and revising college-level essays toward a specific purpose and audience: active reading, prewriting strategies, sentence and paragraph structure, thesis statements, varied patterns of development (e.g., illustration, comparison and contrast, classification), critical reading toward revision of structure and organization, editing for standard written conventions, use and documentation of outside sources. Students submit two prewriting assignments, and three essays (process analysis, classification and division, argumentation).


  • Use writing skills to construct well-written sentences and active reading skills to understand and analyze text
  • Develop paragraphs using topic sentences, adequate detail, supporting evidence, and transitions
  • Describe the revision, editing, and proofreading steps of the writing process
  • Distinguish between different patterns of development
  • Use prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing to write a formal, college-level essay
  • Recognize how to determine the reliability of secondary sources and to give proper credit to sources referenced in an essay
  • Use prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing to write a formal, college-level essay
  • Use techniques of drafting, evaluating, and creating a sound written argument

Medical Terminology (3 credits)
This course covers the medical terms that you will encounter in your field. You will complete a research project at the end of the course.


  • Define word elements, roots, prefixes, suffixes, combining vowels, and combining forms.
  • Describe the basic rules for building a medical word.
  • Describe the uses and effects of drugs on the body.
  • Distinguish among generic drug names, official drug names, trade names, and chemical names.
  • Identify and spell word elements, names of diagnostic procedures, diagnoses, treatment procedures, and abbreviations related to the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems; cardiovascular system; the blood and lymph system; the respiratory system; the digestive and urinary systems; the reproductive system; the endocrine system; and the nervous system.
  • Define terms related to the psychology and psychiatry fields.
  • Identify and define terms associated with conditions of the eyes and ears.
  • Identify and define terms commonly used on operative reports.

Textbook: Medical Terminology, A Living Language

Mathematics for Business and Finance (3 credits)
This course will hone your math skills so you are able to successfully use them in business and finance industries.


  • Use percentages, discounts, and interest formulas.
  • Analyze present worth and sinking funds.
  • Understand how to buy in installments and price merchandise.
  • Explain depreciation, insurance, equations, and formulas.
  • Discuss an overview of investments and statistics.

Textbook: Practical Business Math Procedures

Computer Applications (3 credits)
This course will allow you to build your computer skills through a combination of reading and hands-on practice. You will navigate popular software tools such as Windows® and Microsoft® Office.


  • Create, edit, and illustrate Microsoft® Word™ documents.
  • Apply formulas and functions to large data sets in Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Incorporate useful charts and graphs to summarize data.
  • Add, delete, sort, and lay out table data.
  • Create presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint® using advanced tools, tables, and charts.

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


Semester 2

Interpersonal Communication (1 credit)
This course is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace.


  • Understand and explain the components of communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
  • Develop effective listening and observation skills.
  • Recognize prejudice in interpersonal relations.
  • Describe personal traits essential for successful interpersonal relations.

Health Care Management (3 credits)
In this course, you’ll learn the essential basics of how to be a good manager, what it takes to be an effective leader, and why the two aren’t the same. You’ll learn how to keep morale high as well as how to increase productivity. You’ll also learn how decisions made by managers impact the department and quite possibly the entire healthcare organization.


  • Identify the theories of management and the supervisor's role in healthcare management
  • Analyze the methods of planning and processing and the role of the manager in them
  • Categorize the processes related to staffing and organizing in healthcare management
  • Point out the role of a supervisor in imparting influence and control and conducting labor relation interactions
  • Prepare a project based on your choice of hospital organization

Textbook: Healthcare Management

Anatomy and Physiology 1 (3 credits)
In this course, you’ll begin your study of anatomy and physiology. You’ll learn about general body terms, structures, functions, and processes as well as the skeletal and muscular system. Continue your studies with the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the senses, and the endocrine system.


  • Define terms referring to location, position, direction, body planes, and sections.
  • Identify and describe the basic anatomical structures and major cavities of the human body.
  • Discuss the process and mechanics of homeostasis.
  • Explain how human anatomy and physiology are related.
  • List and discuss the organizational levels of the human body in order of increasing complexity and explain how these levels are related to each other.
  • Explain the structures, functions, and diseases of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, and endocrine systems in humans.

Textbook: Body Structures and Functions (with accompanying CD-ROM)

Anatomy and Physiology 2 (3 credits)
This course will cover the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system, immunity, infection control, respiration, digestion, nutrition, the urinary system, the reproductive system, and genetics.


  • Identify and describe the components, functions, and disorders of blood, the circulatory system, the lymphatic system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the urinary system, the reproductive system, and genetics.
  • Describe the processes of inflammation and coagulation.
  • Explain the disease mechanisms involved in the human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • Describe different types of microorganisms.
  • Discuss the body’s defense mechanisms against infection.
  • Identify and describe the functions of water, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, trace elements, and vitamins.
  • Explain the principles of healthy nutrition and describe nutritional disorders.
  • Identify and explain the functions of the reproductive system.
  • Describe the disorders of both male and female reproductive systems.
  • Define genetics, mutation, and lethal genes.
  • Describe selected genetic disorders.
  • Explain the potential of genetic engineering.

Textbook: Body Structures and Functions (with accompanying CD-ROM)

Basic Accounting (3 credits)
This course meets the needs of students who need to understand accounting language but aren't planning on becoming accountants. Students will learn what accounting information is, what it means, and how it's used. The course also covers financial statements, return on investment, the bookkeeping process, cost accounting, and report systems.


  • Define accounting and identify and describe its different classifications
  • Discuss and analyze transactions that affect current assets
  • Describe applications of valuation and matching in the case of accounts receivable
  • Discuss the significance of inventories and cost-flow assumptions
  • Explain, integrate, and interpret the basic balance sheet and the impact of those issues on net income and cash flow
  • Describe variable costs, fixed costs, contribution margin, contribution margin ratio, and how to use the cost formula for total cost, operating profit, and break-even points, while applying the simplifying assumptions of linearity and relevant range

General Education Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

HUM102-Art Appreciation
In this course, you will gain an understanding of artistic media, historical periods and artistic movements, the roles of the artist and the viewer, and the principles of art criticism.


  • Define the language, visual elements, and principles of design of art
  • Identify two-dimensional media
  • Identify three-dimensional media
  • Explain the evolution of art from ancient Mediterranean cultures through eighteenth century Europe
  • Identify features and popular examples of art throughout the history of African, Asian, Pacific, and American cultures
  • Compare the genres of the Modern and Postmodern eras of art from around the world

Textbook: Living with Art, 11th Edition

HUM104-Music Appreciation
In this course, you'll understand how to appreciate music by learning about the roles of the composer and the listener, the principles of music theory and instrumentation, musically significant historical periods, and varying styles of music.


  • Identify the building blocks of music a composer can use to create a piece, such as rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form, and timbre
  • Explain the evolution of Western music through history, from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century
  • Differentiate between the music of the baroque era and the musical styles of previous time periods
  • Recognize the major characteristics of classical music, including form, melody, and instrumentation
  • Discuss the musical trends and innovations that occurred during the romantic era
  • Trace the evolution of American popular music in the twentieth century
  • Recognize the influence of world music on modern Western composition

Textbook: Experience Music, Fourth Edition

ENG115-Introduction to Literature
Read and analyze the main genres of literature—poetry, fiction, and drama. Study the themes and forms of literature.


  • Read more effectively for both knowledge and enjoyment.
  • Use your new vocabulary to discuss, write about, and understand literature.
  • Explain the characteristics of several genres, including the short story, poetry, drama, and the essay.
  • Identify and understand literary technique.
  • Discuss the relationship between literature and life.

Textbook: Literature

Textbook: Accounting: What the Numbers Mean

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


Semester 3

Human Resources Management (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of Human Resources Management (HRM) as it's understood today. It illustrates the dynamic interaction of the personnel functions with each other and with the objectives of an organization.


  • Describe the elements of human resource management, including labor considerations, regulation, and management of workflow
  • Explain how companies should prepare for and implement HRM to hire new employees and create training programs
  • Identify the aspects of employee, career, and turnover management
  • Summarize how employees are paid, including legal requirements, performance-based pay, commissions, salaries, and benefits
  • Describe other HRM functions including collective bargaining, labor relations, global HRM, and building a high-performance organization

Textbook: Fundamentals of Human Resource Management

Quality Management Performance Improvement (2 credits)
Learn the principles of clinical quality management and performance improvement in the health-care industry. The course also covers additional areas such as utilization management and risk management.


  • Apply the fundamentals of quality management.
  • Describe the characteristics of complex systems.
  • Explain system behavior.
  • Compare models for health-care managers.
  • Contrast customer and stakeholder requirements.
  • Describe the role of policies in promoting system change.
  • Improve and measure process and performance.
  • Foster teamwork.

Textbook: Applying Quality Management in Healthcare: A Systems Approach

Electronic Medical Records (3 credits)
In this course, you’ll be introduced to billing cycles and how health information technology is used in medical offices. You’ll also learn about basic accounting transaction terminology and apply this information to enter patient charges and payments.


  • Discuss the history of electronic health records
  • Perform administrative health information management functions
  • Build an electronic health record
  • Enter information into an electronic health record
  • Utilize templates to increase productivity

Textbook: The Electronic Health Record for the Physician's Office with SimChart for the Medical Office
Simulation: SimChart for the Medical Office
Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Medical Coding (3 credits)
This course covers the basics of coding and explores the ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, HCPCS Level II, and CPT manuals. In this course, you'll also study specialty areas of medical coding such as cardiology and obstetrics/gynecology, radiology, pathology, and laboratory work.


  • Describe the purpose of coding and the documentation used in coding
  • Assign the equivalent ICD-10 codes using the ICD-10 coding manual
  • Assign ICD-10-PCS codes in appropriate coding situations
  • Assign codes for services and procedures using CPT and HCPCS Level II
  • Describe the relationship between HCPCS Level I and HCPCS Level II
  • Outline the types of services and procedures described in the CPT
  • Describe the types of patients seen in the outpatient setting


  • Step-by-Step Medical Coding
  • ICD-10-CM
  • CPT
  • HCPCS Level II

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Reimbursement Methodologies (3 credits)
In this course, you’ll learn about the different insurance types, what rules govern the submission of claims to each type of insurance, and how to manage outgoing claims and incoming reimbursements.


  • Discuss managed care organizations, government insurance, and workers’ compensation plans.
  • Practice correct ICD-9-CM, CPT, HCPCS, and place of service coding techniques.
  • Describe auditing concepts and implement internal auditing.
  • Differentiate between physician and hospital billing concepts.
  • Explain electronic claims submission, payment adjudication, refunds, and appeals.

Textbook: Comprehensive Health Insurance

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


Semester 4

Supervision and Leadership (3 credits)
This course provides perspective on the challenges of leading a workforce in today’s complex society.


  • Identify and explain major approaches to leadership.
  • Describe the prominent theories surrounding the process of leadership.
  • Discuss the topic of women and leadership.
  • Identify and address moral and ethical issues that arise in the workplace.
  • Analyze the role of leadership as it relates to culture and globalization.

Textbook: Leadership: Theory and Practice

Department Management (2 credits)
This course provides you with an understanding of basic management principles in health care management—useful information no matter which career you choose within the health care management field.


  • Explain the various roles in the healthcare profession and the legal structure for healthcare delivery
  • Describe the purpose, various functions, and various processes for administrative management
  • Analyze the legal issues and fraud in healthcare, HIPAA, and compliance programs
  • Discuss the importance of professional communication, professional behavior, and project management skills
  • Analyze Performance Improvement Methods in Health Services Administration
  • Analyze leadership styles in health services administration

Textbook: Introduction to Health Services Administration

Healthcare Statistics (3 credits)
This course is designed to introduce you to the calculation, compilation, analysis, and presentation of health-care statistics.


  • Distinguish between descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.
  • Apply basic statistical principles.
  • Identify valid and reliable data.
  • Calculate, analyze, and report routine institutional statistics and institutional health-care quality indicators.
  • Collect, interpret, prepare, and present research data.
  • Design reports using database information.
  • Perform statistical analysis of patient information.
  • Participate in committees utilizing health record information.

Textbook: Calculating and Reporting Healthcare Statistics

Essentials of Psychology (3 credits)
This course covers the psychology of biology and behavior, consciousness, memory, thought and language, intelligence, personality and gender, stress, and community influences.


  • Describe the science of psychology, basic structure and function of the human nervous system, and basic structure and function of the sensory system
  • Explain various states of consciousness, learning theories, and thought processes and development
  • Summarize the nature of human motivation and development, the human development cycle, and approaches to understanding and assessing personality
  • Prepare an essay on the topic of conditioning, memory, or motivation and emotion
  • Recognize psychological disorders and available treatments
  • Explain social psychology as it relates to attitudes, influences, behaviors, and stress
  • Use critical thinking skills to determine the likely causes of behaviors of individuals and groups discussed in case studies

Practicum in Health Care Management (4 credits)
Practice your health-care management knowledge and skills in a variety of workplace settings.


  • Demonstrate health-care management knowledge and skills.
  • Work on projects and research.
  • Gain workplace experience under the supervision of an externship site supervisor.
  • Complete 160 hours.

It is the responsibility of the student to secure a site for the field placement(s).

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


This program requires the student to enroll in a practicum in Semester Four.

* As a degree candidate, you will take a proctored examination at the end of each semester on selected courses within that semester. We make it easy because you pick the location and the person you want to supervise the exam, as long as Penn Foster College's established policy and qualifications are met. Complete information packets with procedures will be provided well in advance, before completion of final semester coursework.

Note: Advanced standing student shipments may vary from the above schedule.

A High School Diploma or GED is required to enroll in this degree program. Although this outline covers all four semesters of the Health Care Management Degree Program, you receive lesson materials for each semester as you enroll.

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