Overview of Online Certificate Programs in Healthcare Law
Graduate certificate programs related to healthcare law are offered by law schools at several universities, and these programs can usually be completed fully online. Such certificates are often designed for healthcare professionals seeking to advance their understanding of legal processes and issues that impact the healthcare industry. Paralegals with professional interests in healthcare law may also find certificate programs like these useful for advancing in their careers.
Many programs require a bachelor's degree for admission; some only recommend that applicants hold an undergraduate degree or a certificate in paralegal studies and have relevant experience. Between three and nine courses are usually required, and some programs can be completed in about a year. Students who earn these certificates may be able to count the credit hours toward a related master's degree or use them to fulfill continuing education requirements within their profession.
Healthcare Law Certificate Requirements
These programs often address current perspectives on issues facing the field, including financial management, tax law, compliance, access to healthcare, and the insurance industry. Students can also gain instruction in concepts like privacy and ethics.
Information and Requirements
In order to earn these certificates, students may need to complete a set of predetermined online courses, or they may be able to choose from a range of relevant classes. Schools may offer students flexible options like the ability to complete the requirements at their own pace or a condensed course format.
Online courses in healthcare law certificate programs include components like lectures, quizzes and assessments, multimedia presentations, and learning activities related to course topics. In addition to law classes, programs may draw from other schools and departments to incorporate an interdisciplinary perspective.
Healthcare Law and Regulation
Many healthcare law certificate programs require a foundational course in the specific laws and regulatory processes that guide the healthcare industry. These classes can examine the groups that regulate healthcare processes at state and federal levels and how regulatory bodies impact the ways in which medical care is received by patients. Students can also gain an understanding of financial aspects of the healthcare system, like insurance plans and third-party reimbursements.
Compliance in Healthcare
Since healthcare practitioners must comply with particular guidelines, certificate programs in the field usually require classes covering patient safety, licensure requirements, medical errors, and quality of care. Compliance classes examine the responsibilities of healthcare corporations and laws pertaining to fraud, abuse, and relevant tax statues. Students also receive an overview of civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance.
Students in these programs often receive instruction in ethical considerations related to healthcare and the intersection of law and ethics. Courses in ethics ask students to examine values and morals that impact their practice, ethical dilemmas, and ethical dimensions of patient rights. Ethics classes may also focus on one particular aspect of the healthcare industry, such as the ethical considerations involved in medical research and clinical trials.
Privacy in Healthcare
Courses in healthcare privacy cover guidelines and responsibilities related to protecting patients' health information. Students focus in-depth on HIPPA regulations, including specifics of the information it protects and how rights and responsibilities are communicated to patients. Special attention may be given to security measures needed to protect information and HIPPA enforcement procedures.
Career Outlook for Online Healthcare Law Certificate Graduates
Online certificates in healthcare law can prepare students in the healthcare industry to work with attorneys or help their organization meet regulations, ensure patient privacy, and improve quality of care. Specific professionals who might benefit from these certificates include hospital compliance officers and patient advocates or hospitalists.
Compliance officers in hospitals can operate in administrative roles and are tasked with ensuring all relevant laws and regulations are being followed. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, all compliance offers had an average annual wage of $72,520 as of May 2018. Hospitalists are physicians who go beyond typical medical duties to advocate for patients and help them navigate through all of the aspects of a hospital stay. Although it does not compile information for hospitalists specifically, the BLS reports that physicians working as general internists earned a mean average salary of $196,490 in May 2018.
Online certificate programs in healthcare law provide an overview of legal and regulatory issues that impact healthcare practices. Students can earn these certificates by completing a series of online classes on topics like compliance in healthcare, privacy and security, and ethics.