HOUSTON _ Many doctors are feeling confused and powerless as
hospitals merge at a dizzying pace and new health maintenance
organizations flock into the market.
To help these physicians prepare for this market-driven health
care system, the University of Houston-Clear Lake plans to create
a master of business administration program strictly for
This program, which will start in September, is only the
second such program for doctors in the United States. The other
program is at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Meanwhile, University of Houston already has begun taking
applications for shorter certificate programs that would train
doctors in the essentials of business administration or the
managed care business. These programs are scheduled to begin in
Business administration "is an important thing that physicians
need to be engaging in," because of the growth of managed care,
said Dr. Paul Handel, a Houston urologist. Handel is considering
applying for the MBA program.
Doctors see managed care _ health care provided through health
maintenance organizations and other health insurance plans that
contract with exclusive networks of doctors and hospitals _ as a
key to their future, and the future of medicine.
"Physicians need to be actively involved in managed care
companies to make sure that access and quality of medical care
are preserved," Handel said. "If we are going to be in this
milieu, we want to have some degree of control over it."
Kevin C. Wooten, University of Houston assistant professor of
management and human resources, said, "Physicians want to manage
their own discipline and their own destinies. They feel they have
become only technicians."
The MBA program is designed for doctors who have full
schedules and want to continue working. It will consist of
classes every other weekend on Fridays from noon-6 p.m. and
Saturdays from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., plus two, two-week and one,
one-week block of full-time classes over two years.
The first class will have between 20 and 40 students. "We have
a waiting list of people who have already expressed an interest"
to enroll, said Dianne Love, associate professor of health care
Handel expects the program to be demanding, but he has been
devoting time apart from his practice in recent years to involve
himself in the Texas Medical Association and Harris County
Medical Society. …