When exploring health policy graduate programs, you should research how the curriculum is designed to equip you with a deeper understanding of vital issues and help you to progress in your career plans. By developing insights into the intersection of law and medicine through health law courses, you can offer wise recommendations in crucial decision-making processes and effectively advocate for your clients and patients.
Earning an online Master of Arts in Healthcare Law and Policy from Hofstra University can provide a grounding in some of the most urgent issues facing health care organizations today. For a wide range of professionals — including health administrators or educators, advanced practice nurses, compliance officers and insurance specialists — pursuing this credential could be a beneficial step forward. Students are required to take 11 courses, which can be completed in as few as 24 months, all designed to ensure that students graduate prepared to navigate complex regulations and help organizations strategize for a changing world of treatment, reimbursement and compliance.
Becoming well-versed in legal fundamentals
Hofstra Law offers two degree study paths in health law, each intended for individuals with different backgrounds. Unlike the online Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy, the Master of Arts degree path does not require students to enter with a law degree or legal background. Instead, MA students will be required to take two in-depth introductory courses intended to familiarize them with key areas of law to set a solid foundation for the rest of their studies.
Introduction to the American Legal System covers the basics of how laws are made, interpreted and applied. With a clear understanding of how the legal code functions in the U.S. system, students can start thinking about some of the central problems that will be addressed throughout the curriculum. They begin digging further into the relevant subject matter in health law. This class looks at regulations and organizational relationships in the health care system, examining the mechanisms in place to control costs, expand access and enforce quality standards.
Understanding Medicare and Medicaid
The Medicare and Medicaid programs are among the most discussed aspects of the U.S. health care system. A monthly average of 58.5 million people who were either over the age of 65 or disabled were enrolled in Medicare Part A or B as of 2017, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In the same year, an average of 72.3 million people per month received benefits from Medicaid so that they could undergo care despite limited financial resources.
A course in Medicare and Medicaid Law begins by detailing the history and objectives of the programs, showing how they have changed over time. Students learn about the regulatory challenges that can go along with providing services under Medicare or Medicaid, especially the possibilities for fraud and abuse. The class compares this system to other federal programs and analyzes the legal mechanisms in place for containing costs and controlling utilization.
Connecting health care, law and ethics
Many complex ethical problems go along with a career in health care policy, and it’s important for students to learn how to manage these conflicts. In Bioethics and the Law, students discuss patients’ rights and the responsibilities of health care providers during treatment. Some of the controversial issues the class addresses include reproductive health, medical research on humans, genetics and euthanasia.
A class on Public Health Law, Policy, and Ethics goes further into the ethical dilemmas involved in applying legal principles to medicine. Students learn about how U.S. policy has attempted to address public health in areas like hunger, addiction, vaccination, genetic experimentation and natural disasters. In the process, they tackle the thorny ethics involved in using the legal code to achieve benefits for population health.
Exploring how regulations impact medical products
Law of Medical Product Discovery, Development and Commercialization is devoted to the effect of regulations on pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. The material includes a deep dive into the path that medical products take from initial discovery and development through approval or clearance from government agencies before coming onto the market. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration enforces a range of laws and rules meant to ensure that drugs and medical devices are safe, effective and properly labeled.
This course focuses on the role that legal representation plays throughout commercialization, including negotiating between stakeholders at life sciences firms and helping to set policies. Students learn about how pharmaceuticals are evaluated and apply concepts like market exclusivity, in which the FDA grants a statute delaying or prohibiting the approval of competing drugs in the course of development.
Investigating major questions in compliance
For professionals working in health care, a vast range of considerations are involved in legal compliance. Students in Health Care Compliance apply what they’ve learned throughout the program to the myriad practical instances where regulations come into play for lawyers, doctors and organizations. The class covers a broad selection of the most pressing issues in medicine from the angles of health care business, administrative agency law and ethics.
Health data privacy and security are the course’s primary areas of focus, exploring the effects of legislation like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. The class emphasizes the importance of building a compliance-oriented culture in an organization. Students gain hands-on experience in handling related tasks like writing an internal policy or suggesting changes to fill regulatory gaps.
Getting started in an advanced online graduate program
The U.S. health care system involves an intricate web of rules and a huge variety of stakeholders. Patients, life sciences organizations, medical facilities and providers will continue to rely on individuals who possess a robust knowledge of the legal code and the practical awareness to provide actionable guidance.
Hofstra University’s online Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy program is centered on bringing students the legal expertise to work through complex regulatory areas and develop compliant, forward-looking strategies. You can find more information on the program page, including how you can apply.
Classes you can take in Hofstra Law’s online Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy program
Hofstra Law’s online Master’s in Health Law and Policy programs: What you need to know