Paging Dr. MBA Featured

9:57am EDT July 22, 2002

Being a doctor used to be relatively simple. You attended medical school, completed the various internships and residency requirements, then went out and opened shop. Patients came to you, and eventually you had a large enough patient base to make a decent living.

But managed care has changed the environment doctors work in. HMOs, PPOs and POS plans complicate insurance claims. Detailed billing, primary care contracts and office management are suddenly decisions that can affect the profitability of a private practice. Physicians find themselves spending as much time with their accountants and lawyers as they do with their patients, and many are coming to the realization that to be successful, you have to manage the business side of a practice as well as you manage the medicinal side.

Kennesaw State University has developed an MBA program for physicians that will give them the skills they need to succeed.

“The need for it was obvious,” says Gary Selden, director of executive programs at the university near Atlanta. “The doctors felt they were losing control of health care. Insurance companies are telling them how to do business.”

The program is in its fourth class of students, who attend classes one weekend per month, all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Projects are facilitated by the Internet between class sessions. The program takes 21 months to complete, with scheduling geared to accommodate practicing doctors.

“The physicians that enroll in the program come from small one-man practices to large physician groups,” notes Selden. “Everyone wants to understand what’s happening.”

Some enroll with hopes of entering the administration field, while others want to enter the consulting field, but the majority are doctors who simply want to run their businesses better.

“There are a lot of programs out there that cater to physicians, but they also let in other hospital administrators,” says Selden. “The physicians we attract may not grasp some of the business technology, and we want to go very slow with that to help them understand it. A typical executive wouldn’t need that.”

While there is no entrance exam, each class is limited to about 30 students. Candidates must have either an MD or DO degree. The MBA program is AACSB certified. For more information, call (770) 423-6087.

MBA program for physicians only

  • Gives doctors a better understanding of the business side of their practice or organization.

  • Can help lead to consulting or administrative positions.

  • Doesn’t lump physicians in with business executives who may be farther along with technology or business principles.

  • Requires students attend class for one weekend a month for 21 months.

  • Includes students from one person practices to large group operations.