What I do now is go back to the courses that Mr. Richmond talked about, and go through some of the content a little deeper so you have an idea of what the curriculum will be like.
This is a lock-step program. A student in the program will have to take each and every one of these courses – these are not a list of electives – you have to take each and every one of these courses to earn the degree. The exception would be the first two courses – Introduction to the American Legal System and Health Law. As mentioned, those two courses are only required for M.A students, the L.M students do not take those courses.
So what are these courses about? I just told you about the first one. The Health Law course is really an introduction to health law. This is a course for students who currently don’t have a J.D., and it’s designed to provide an overview of the health care system and health law. The courses that follow, that everyone has to take, go into greater detail into particular facets of health law.
The third one on this list, Medicare and Medicaid Law, as the name suggests, addresses the two most important government-funded health care programs in the United States. You’ll learn the law governing those programs.
Bioethics and the Law is a very exciting course that covers all the hot button bioethical issues that are part and parcel of the health care industry these days. Medical issues requiring the ethics of treatment in certain situations – death, dying, abortion, reproductive technologies, genetics, research on human subjects, research on stem cells, organ transplants, all these types of issues are discussed in that particular course. I think you’ll find it a fascinating course. We’re familiar with the debates, but to have the issues presented to you by an expert in the field and with the level of information at your disposal in the class, I think you’ll find exhilarating.
Law of Medical Product Discovery, Development and Commercialization focuses on how products and drugs and processes in the medical field are discovered, developed and ultimately commercialized. It also addresses the effect it has on various stakeholders. It talks about the government regulations that attach to the situation, and even how these products can be marketed at the global stage. Students will learn how lawyers go about negotiating agreements in this context, resolving disputes, how policy is made and related issues. Again, this is a very business-oriented course within the health care field.
The next course is as well. Business transactions is an actual follow-up to that course. What it will do is explore the most prevalent kinds of commercial business transactions in the health care industry today. The emphasis will be on how these transactions work to create sustainable business combinations. You’ll walk through, as a student in this course, the fundamental elements of negotiating an acquisition, due diligence process for example, preliminary negotiations, draft agreements, how transactions are structured, how agreements are finalized, and the post-closing relationship. Again, another sort of practical business-oriented health law course.
Public Health Law, Policy and Ethics talks about ethics from a public policy perspective -a little different from bioethics. This class addresses things such as mandatory vaccinations, how to deal with addictions, obesity, hunger, genetic testing, environmental pollution, bioterrorism, natural disasters, access to health care, limitations on access to health care, how does a nation provide health care for those who can’t afford it, that type of thing. This addresses the ethical issues regarding health care public policy whereas the bioethics classes, if you had to force a divide, I’d say address more of the private patient-doctor relationship and the private researcher. Health law policy and ethics address more of the larger issues of how should a government go about taking care of its people. That’s sort of the issue there and the ethics relating to that.
Understanding Statutes and Regulations is an indispensable course for everyone in the program. The health care industry is highly regulated. These regulations come in the form of statutes and regulations. This course will help you develop the expertise needed to interpret, apply, and argue those statutes and regulations – argue against them or show how they work in your client’s favour, in your industry or your particular company’s favour. It’s an indispensable course that helps you develop the art and the science of interpreting rules and regulations.
Representing Health Care Providers – as the name suggests – focuses on what it’s like for an attorney to represent a health care provider. Now that could be an individual health care practitioner, it could be a group, an institution, or it could be a large health care system. These all have different issues and this course will explore the issues that come up in all those relationships.
Before we get to the very last course, the Capstone, is the Health Care Compliance course.
Again, a natural follow-up to the Understanding Statutes and Regulations course. Whereas Understanding Statutes and Regulations helps you acquire the skills to interpret statutes and regulations, Health Care Compliance homes in on specific statutes and regulations that regulate the health care industry. For example, HIPAA, HITECH, data privacy and medical privacy issues – the actual rules that health care professionals need to comply with, this course focuses on those actual rules and regulations – the most common and important one.
And then finally, there is the capstone which I think Mr. Richmond did a fabulous job explaining. This is an opportunity to take what you’ve learned throughout the program and pull it all together in a final product that is relevant to what you’re working on, or what you want to work on, where your career is and where you want to go. It’s a combination of what you’ve learned with your life’s experience, your professional experience, to put together that and come up with a final product. That’s a five-credit, fourteen-semester course.
So that’s the run-down of the courses in the program.