With the constantly changing health care landscape, there’s always a need for health law and policy professionals. The American Health Lawyers Association in collaboration with the National Association for Law Placement note that financial, regulatory and technological developments are always inspiring a new wave of health law attorneys, legal assistants, social workers and other career outlooks in the industry. Earning a master’s degree in health law and policy is one way to gain relevant skills to ensure you can stay ahead of the curve and continue to transform with the industry.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the essential skills needed for a career in health law and policy. We’ll also discuss how courses in Hofstra Law’s Master’s in Health Law and Policy curriculum can help you gain such skills and enhance your professional portfolio.
Which skills are most relevant for a career in health law and policy?
Whether you’re just starting your journey in health law and policy or you’re a seasoned health or legal professional who’s headed back to school for your master’s degree, you must possess a variety of skills relevant in the industry and beyond. The following skills are necessary for a career in health law and policy:
1. Problem solving
If you’re pursuing a career in nursing, health administration, insurance, health education or social work, problem solving skills are essential in identifying roadblocks and obstacles and forming solutions. The ability to quickly and logically diagnose and resolve issues in the workplace is invaluable for most people, but especially for health and legal professionals like nurses and administrators who deal with life-altering consequences to their everyday tasks.
Courses such as Law of Medical Product Discovery, Development and Commercialization will teach students about lawyers’ roles in resolving disputes, negotiating agreements and making policy adjustments as they pertain to pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.
ADA: Statutory Interpretation is another course that will give students the skills to analyze and interpret issues through a doctrinal context, covering subjects such as administrative regulations, judicial decisions and agency interpretation.
The ability to speak among other health law professionals and provide valuable insight based on regulations, policies and other codes is critical, according to the AHLA:
“Because health law often involves the interface between facilities and professional services providers, between the government and the regulated entities, and among patients, providers and payers, good communication and negotiation skills are valuable.”
Courses such as Introduction to the American Legal System, Health Law, Medicare and Medicaid Law, and Bioethics and the Law give students an overview of today’s statutes, institutional mechanisms and contemporary ethical issues that serve as a backdrop to the informed conversations that one will have in the industry. Students will enter negotiations and debates empowered with the opinions and perspectives they formed based upon the knowledge gained in these courses.
Communication skills go beyond having a strong health law-based vocabulary. You must be a good listener and show respect and confidence in nonverbal communication gestures. Learn to be open minded, empathetic, clear and concise when speaking to all people within the industry, whether that be patients, consumers or other practicing legal professionals.
3. Writing and technology
Having strong writing and technology skills will also benefit you as a professional in health law and policy. Interpreting, developing and negotiating contracts using industry-focused vocabulary shows your strength and expertise as a professional regardless of whether you’re a lawyer, health administrator or compliance officer. This will also help you demonstrate a strong background in the industry through valuable education and past experience.
As with any industry, homing in on technological skills is essential to gaining a new position in health law and policy. Using specific software or databases for research, billing and coding will likely be a daily task, so understanding how to navigate devices, archives and other forms of technology is a must.
As a Hofstra Law student, you can build upon your writing and technology savvy through courses like Representing Healthcare Providers and Business Transactions in Healthcare.
In Representing Healthcare Providers, you’ll learn about a variety of federal and state legal regulatory issues health care attorneys face on an everyday basis. Students are expected to write a paper that demonstrates how federal and state regulations impact health care providers.
In Business Transactions in Healthcare, you’ll dive deep into some of the most common commercial business transactions in the health care industry and explore the law, statutes and regulations that are applicable to such transactions. By the end of the course, you’ll be well-versed in the language, equipped to use it yourself in negotiations and have a firm grasp on the acquisition process that takes place for all transactions.
Beyond these courses, the Capstone project can be very valuable for applying your writing skills. Taken at the end of the final semester, the Capstone takes a cumulative approach and requires you to use the knowledge and skills gained throughout the program to produce a final paper.
If you plan on acquiring a management position after completing your master’s degree, it’s important to gain skills that set you apart. Showcasing your ability to stay organized between day-to-day tasks while overseeing others can show you have the skills needed to manage staff while streamlining a steady workflow, regardless of where your career takes you.
How Hofstra Law’s online Health Law and Policy programs can benefit your career
Those who are ready to advance their career in health law and policy should consider enrolling in one of Hofstra Law’s online Health Law and Policy programs. Both the 30-credit M.A. and 25-credit LL.M. curriculum are taught by top scholars and educators and provide education and professional insight based on past and present state and federal laws that have reshaped the health care system and how it will continue to change in the future.
As mentioned, some of the courses you’ll complete include Introduction to the American Legal System, Medicare and Medicaid Law, Laws of Medical Product Delivery, Development and Commercialization, Business Transactions in Healthcare and Healthcare Compliance. You’ll learn how to speak the language of law and be authoritative when it comes to discussing legislation and regulation in regard to health care decisions, the industry, patient care and the public.
Once you complete your master’s degree, you’ll have the skills and qualifications needed to:
- Establish your role as a counsel in legal and business issues
- Expand your understanding of how the health care and legal profession complement each other
- Develop communication skills to use legal concepts in the context of health care
- Address compliance requirements
- Navigate legislation
- Advocate for patients
- Implement change in your organization
- Drive the business of health care
- Become a critical thinker in health law
- Build a network surrounded by other health and legal professionals
With these skills, you can turn your master’s degree into a career as a paralegal, legal assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, medical and health services manager, social worker, conciliator and more.
Both of Hofstra Law’s online Health Law and Policy programs are designed to give students the skills needed to achieve new milestones in their careers. With the right tools and educational materials, you’ll learn how to use health law and inspire change in the industry. For more information on how to advance your education, visit the program page to find out more about earning an online Master’s in Health Law and Policy.