Public Health Financial Management

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Date Developed: Unknown. Source: South Central Public Health Partnership. Presenter(s): W. Jack Duncan, PhD. Type: Video Course. Level: Advanced Intermediate Introductory. Length: 420 minutes.


This course is divided into four video modules, and includes PowerPoint slides to use with each lecture and talk. Module 1 provides an overview of finance, discussing sources of revenues, defines important financial terms, and talks about the budget process. In session 2, Dr. Duncan interviews Jerry W. Stephens PhD about financial and managerial accounting, as well as financial statements. The two presenters also discuss cost behavior, including fixed and variable costs. Segment 3 includes an interview with Stuart Capper, DrPH who defines and elaborates on capital budgeting specifically in public health settings compared to the private sector. They also discuss a case study in capital budgeting and how money changes over time. Module 4 concludes with an interview with Michael E. Fleenor, MD, MPH who discusses integrating strategic thinking and financial planning and his experiences with this type of planning process. A quiz is available after completion of the course.

Learning Objectives

Module I - Financial Management for Public Health Managers:

• Discuss the sources of revenues for state and local public health agencies.

• Discuss the reasons why budgets and budgeting is an important part of financial management in public health organizations.

• Discuss the nature of matching funds, in-kind funds, and indirect allocations.

• Discuss the difference between cash and accrual basis accounting.

• Describe how unexpected factors can influence the budgeting process.

• Define three different types of budgets

Module II - Essential Concepts of Financial and Managerial Accounting:

• Describe how management accounting is used in private and public organizations.

• Explain difference between balance sheets and income statements.

• Discuss the difference between fixed and variable cost.

• Discuss the general cost categories found in most organizations.

• Explain what is meant by responsibility accounting.

• Describe what is meant by break-even analysis and how this tool can be used for managerial decision making in public health organizations.

Module III - Essential Concepts of Financial and Managerial Accounting P2:

• Describe the distinguishing characteristics of capital assets.

• Explain why public health organizations do not usually have capital budgets in the same sense as private sector firms.

• Discuss what is meant by “funding depreciation” on capital assets and the associated challenges for public health organizations relative to maintaining capital assets.

• Discuss the primary bases upon which capital decisions are made in most public health organizations.

• Explain what is meant by the time value of money.

• Describe briefly some methods by which capital asset acquisition may be evaluated.

Module IV - Financial Management for Public Health Managers:

• Discuss how strategic plans are related to the budgets of public health organizations.

• Understand the complex challenge that public health managers face in ensuring financial plans are consistent with and contribute to the strategic plan.

• Discuss some of the unique challenged faced by public health managers in attempting to effectively manage their unit’s financial resources.

• Differentiate among strategic, business or operational, and budgetary plans.

Special Instructions

Registration to the South Central Public Health Partnership is required. For new users it will take one weekday to receive an access email. If you are registered in TRAIN, login using that username and password. Click on “Course Offerings” and search for “Public Health Financial Management.”

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $180,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.