This January, WSU Spokane’s Department of Health Policy and Administration (MHPA) officially joined the WSU College of Nursing, adding to and enhancing graduate degree offerings. “Students will gain access to complementary courses and electives across programs (the MHPA and the college’s existing Master of Nursing program). Research collaboration across disciplines will continue for faculty and students, adding to the interprofessional education foundational to the WSU Spokane Health Sciences campus,” said Cindy Fitzgerald, associate dean for academic affairs.

The MHPA has been offered since 1995 at WSU Spokane, and the Department of HPA was established in 2002, making it the first Department to be established and located at an urban campus. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) in 2000 and re-accredited in 2012, the MHPA program has graduated more than 150 students to date.

The MHPA program at WSU is highly personalized and exceptionally rigorous, requiring a 3-credit internship and an individual project or thesis. Class sizes are small (12-20 students) and require active engagement in course discussions, guest lectures, site visits, and group projects. The curriculum is designed to facilitate both full- and part-time participation for working
professionals, with courses scheduled on weekday evenings (typically 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.). Graduates of the program work in a wide range of career fields including hospital management, public health, managed care, group practice management, financial management, and more.

In addition to the MHPA, the department
offers six online business management courses:

Lean Six Sigma: Lean Principles, Green Belt, and Black Belt
These three online certificate courses offer increasingly advanced training and project supervision in Lean Six Sigma methods. Based on the Toyota Production System, Lean focuses on improving efficiency, eliminating waste, and producing a culture of continuous improvement and problem solving. Use of Lean Six Sigma is increasingly common in the hospital and clinical setting and has led to significant cost savings and improved patient care.

Rapid Process Improvement (RPI)
RPI is a simple but powerful method for accelerating improvement. The goal is to create reliable, efficient, and customer-driven processes. Due to the short-term nature of RPI, this course will utilize case studies to apply the concepts from the course. Students will receive an RPI Certificate upon successful completion of the course.

Project Management
The focus of this course is to develop an understanding of the concepts, tools, and techniques utilized when completing projects within an organization. Students meet the requirements needed to sit for the Project Management Professional certification exam with the Project Management Institute.

Health Payment Reform
In the context of recent health payment reforms, students utilize a comprehensive range of healthcare finance and accounting tools and techniques to advance their computational, analytic, and financial decision-making skills. Finance professionals can take this course to earn 20 Continuing Education credits.

HPA and nursing faculty collaborate on research aimed at improving health outcomes,
healthcare delivery, and health policy. A strong research partnership has been established
through projects in these areas:

Behavioral Health

  • A randomized control trial to reduce the number of opioid-related visits to hospital
    Emergency Departments.
  • A comprehensive evaluation of the adult felony and family dependency drug courts
    in Snohomish County. This evaluation is focused on assessing the historical and
    current internal operations of the adult and family drug courts.
  • A study aimed at illustrating the connection of antipsychotic medications to adverse
    health conditions to understand and reduce over-prescribing and inappropriate
    off-label use of mental health drugs.

Patient Care Quality and Safety

  • A chronic care management model designed to facilitate self-management among
    people with multiple chronic health conditions.

MHPA Fast Facts