The faculty at Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law built the online Advanced Certificate in Health Law and Policy program to help you go for career success in a complex and vital field. You’ll get a practical education in addressing crucial policy and compliance challenges through a customizable, career-oriented curriculum that introduces you to essential concepts and current issues. Even if you have no prior legal background, you’ll deepen your understanding of the regulatory complexities that affect the US healthcare system through live sessions and asynchronous activities from expert practitioners and researchers. Coursework was developed for both legal and non-legal professionals to complete as they cover the wide-ranging topics of the expansive industry of healthcare.

This 100% online health law certificate program can be finished on a part-time schedule in one year. Enrich your knowledge with a choice of elective courses in a variety of relevant law and policy areas, or gain experience in your area of interest with guided research, directed research, or an externship.

Program Outcomes

Graduates from the Advanced Certificate in Health Law and Policy can go on to start, transition, or advance their careers in health law and policy. Students in this program get the skills and experience to compete in the job market by leading in healthcare administration, financing, organization, policymaking, and delivery. Moreover, students will get exposure to a wide range of legal practice areas and prepare to practice law in healthcare administration, public interest advocacy, and more.

Haub Law students prepare to excel in positions at the intersection of science, technology, and the law. They become versed in relevant topics such as corporate law, torts, criminal law, and regulatory compliance. Graduates from the certificate program will understand the ways providers are structured and paid; the regulations on foods, drugs, and medical devices; public health strategies to prevent disease promote well-being; and how to negotiate complex transactions to satisfy the changing demands of a dynamic market.

Curriculum

To earn the Advanced Certificate in Health Law and Policy, you must complete 15 credit hours, consisting of four required courses and your choice of electives. You may take the courses in any order. Two of the required courses will be offered per semester and all four each year. See below for full course descriptions. Please note that not every elective is offered every year.

COURSE LIST

Required

  • Health Law in America (4 credits)
  • Bioethics and Medical Malpractice (3 credits)
  • Public Health Law (3 credits)
  • Healthcare Lawyering Skills (2 credits)

Electives

  • Accounting for Lawyers (2 credits)
  • Agriculture Law and the Environment (2 credits)
  • Cannabis Law: Practice andPolicy (2 credits)
  • Constitutional Law Seminar: End of Life Issues (2 credits)
  • Elder Law (2 credits)
  • Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts (2 credits)
  • Food Systems Law (2 credits)
  • Guided Research (1–2 credits) OR Directed Research (1–2 credits)
  • Externship: Legal Services (3 credits)
  • Health Law and Policy Seminar: Healthcare Compliance (2 credits)
  • Insurance Law (2 credits)
  • Legislative and Regulatory Process (3 credits)
  • Mental Disability Law (3 credits)
  • Nonprofit Organizations (2 credits)
  • Skills Workshop: Law[yering] & Science (1 credit)

Course Descriptions

Required Courses

This course examines the complex assortment of laws and regulations that govern the delivery of healthcare in America, including the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid, among others. Students will explore healthcare policy and procedures, including regulation of both healthcare professionals and healthcare institutions. Among the numerous topics touched upon in this course are managed care, access to care, not-for-profit organizations, fraud and abuse, and antitrust.
This course includes an in depth look at a number of important bioethics issues, including end of life decision-making, advance directives, abortion, cloning, genetics, surrogate parenting, physician assisted suicide, and organ donation and transplantation. It also explores medical malpractice as a tool for enforcing the appropriate standard of health care. This is a paper course.
This course explores important issues in public health, including the constitutional limitations on the government’s police power in protecting individual and community health. The course also assists students in developing appropriate evaluative skills regarding epidemiological data. The course further exposes students to specific modern public health threats including HIV/AIDS, obesity, tobacco, alcohol and drug addiction, cancer, drug-resistant bacteria, bioterrorism, and access to food and water.
Many lawyering skills are common to almost all areas of practice, but for healthcare lawyers, those skills must be honed to the unique and challenging environment of the national healthcare system. That system carries with it not only a complex web of regulatory requirements that must be navigated, but intertwined business and clinical considerations that must be addressed in any transaction or matter. The purpose of this course is to assist interested students in developing their lawyering skills for practice specifically as a healthcare attorney. The course will begin with an orientation as to the changing healthcare landscape, a review of basic vocabulary and concepts (legal, business, policy, and reimbursement), and a brief summary of healthcare legal research methods and sources. With that foundation, the course will turn to exploring how to apply basic lawyering skills to a variety of healthcare specific areas, such as: structuring the acquisition of a physician practice given the varying rules prohibiting the corporate practice of medicine in different states; conducting M&A regulatory due diligence and risk assessment; creating contractual joint ventures; understanding how to analyze and navigate various kinds of pay or provider arrangements and reimbursement systems; drafting healthcare corporate documents (using a management services agreement as an example); defending a client in a government investigation or audit; and providing an academic medical center with regulatory, compliance, and corporate advice. As the class works through each of these areas, the student will be provided with specific regulatory guidance to be analyzed in the context of a hypothetical scenario. Students will be required to write a number of e-mail memos to hypothetical clients or senior partners addressing specific issues.

Electives

The purpose of this course is to provide the law student who has no previous background in accounting with a general fluency in the language of business accounting. The course involves a study of procedures and theories and the application of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to corporate financial and tax areas. Open only to students with no accounting or business background.
Farming has dramatic environmental impacts including air and water pollution, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity. Unlike other industries with similar impacts, it is subject to very little federal or state regulation. This seminar will examine the legal framework governing agriculture, focusing on both the features that have incentivized or allowed poor environmental practices and the limited mechanisms to reign in those practices. Topics to be covered include the Farm Bill (including commodity payments, conservation programs, and research funding), agricultural exemptions in major environmental laws (including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act), information regulation (pesticide labeling, organics, GMOs, other private labeling), water quality trading schemes, and regulation of discharges from concentrated animal feeding operations. The seminar will also explore currently developing potential solutions to the environmental problem, the advantages, disadvantages, and challenges of each solution, focusing in particular on equity issues (access and affordability).
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the policy considerations around reforms of cannabis law and the realities of representing a cannabis (or hemp) client in the current rapidly developing legal environment. It will examine the background of cannabis prohibition, regulation at the state and federal levels in the United States, and specific areas of law impacted by cannabis law reform in New York State.
This seminar reviews the constitutional right to refuse medical treatment, the right to terminate artificial treatment such as a feeding tube, the burden of proof required before withdrawal of treatment, a so-called O’Connor hearing, Aid in Dying legislation, no right to suicide, palliative care, safeguarding the rights of people with developmental disabilities, the 1994 NYS task force report, End of Life Choices advocacy group, advanced care planning, and more. The seminar will analyze decisions from the Supreme Court, the NYS Court of Appeals and other state courts.
Elder law addresses significant legal and policy questions relating to aging individuals and an older society. The topics covered include access to and affordability of healthcare, long term care planning and financing, age discrimination in employment, estate and healthcare planning, and income maintenance and housing for the elderly.
This course will examine how a complex environmental tort case unfolds from notice to appeal. Using as a learning tool Anderson v. Cryovac, the toxic tort case portrayed in the bestseller A Civil Action, and actual documents from the case, as well as supplemental substantive materials and current case examples, this course will illuminate key phases of the environmental litigation process. Investigation, pleadings, case management, class action and mass tort, management of complex document discovery, e-discovery, pre-trial advocacy, and sophisticated application of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will be a focus of classroom discussion. Other topics to be addressed will be the management of scientific and expert evidence, medical causation, analysis of liability and damages, and special characteristics of environmental tort claims. The interplay between environmental statutory regulation and the common law will be explored, as will trial and settlement of toxic tort cases.
A complex web of agricultural and food laws substantially influences what ends up on our plates, and ultimately affects the health of individuals, communities, and their ecosystems. These policies, and the regulatory mechanisms supporting them, play a vital role in determining health outcomes for the public and the environment. In the context of these policies, the course will cover the federal regulatory framework for food, administered primarily by the Food and Drug Administration; the history of this framework, its basic requirements, goals, and costs and benefits; the central provisions against labeling (misbranding), food fraud and unsafe food (adulteration); the role of administrative law in food regulation; food safety, foodborne diseases and the Food Safety Modernization Act; organic certification under the Organic Foods Production Act and other eco-labeling schemes; the regulation of genetically engineered foods; and the debate about food systems and sustainability.

The following are the guidelines for Guided Research Projects:

  • Student must obtain approval of the associate dean for Academic Affairs no later than the last day of the Drop/Add period by providing a written research proposal approved by the supervising faculty member.
  • The proposal must be supervised by a full-time faculty member, OR by an adjunct faculty member with prior permission of the associate dean for Academic Affairs.
  • Guided Research Project Request Form (available at the registrar’s office) must be submitted to the associate dean for approval, after proposal is approved by supervising faculty member.
  • Only available to students with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (B) or a B+ average in the particular subject area in which the research is undertaken.
  • Available for one or two credits only. Papers should be 25 pages or more for two credits and 15 pages or more for one credit.
  • No more than one project may be undertaken in a semester.
  • No more than two such projects may be applied for credit toward the Juris Doctor degree.
  • A faculty member may supervise only three projects in a semester.
  • Final paper, after grading, must be filed with the registrar.

The Research Proposal must be prepared in the following form:

  1. Problem: A precise statement of the particular inquiry to be undertaken.
  2. Approach: Various questions that need to be raised and investigated in order to explore the problem.
  3. Method of inquiry: Published materials, interviews, simulations, experiments, and other methods of inquiry intended to be used.
  4. Data: Indication of the nature of data contemplated, not a bibliography, namely: a. Primary data: reports, cases, hearings, case studies, and the like. b. Secondary data: writing of scholars. Indication must also be made of the various disciplines, in addition to law, whose data need be investigated.
Directed Research is an extraordinary opportunity for upper-level students to research problems and prepare a substantial written work product under the direction and supervision of a full-time faculty member. With Directed Research, the topic, trajectory, and scope of a student’s research and work product are set by the professor. Directed Research may (or may not) involve working collaboratively with the professor on a jointly authored scholarly article, brief, or course materials, for example. Directed Research is a semester-long commitment with a workload comparable to a traditional one-credit or two-credit course, as the case may be (e.g., typically three hours per week for a one-credit course or six hours per week for a two-credit course, without taking into account final exam preparation and completion). Directed Research is different from Guided Research (LAW 723). Guided Research is the appropriate option for a student who has an independent desire to research a topic selected by the student and not otherwise covered within the parameters of the current curriculum. Guided Research, unlike this Directed Research course, permits the student a high degree of choice, specifically with respect to topic, and the student is expected to work mostly independently under the supervision of a faculty member. Directed Research, in contrast, is a more structured and collaborative endeavor. Students enrolled in Directed Research are expected to meet with the instructor frequently for the purposes of reporting, discussing, sharing research findings, receiving guidance, and facilitating collaboration, as appropriate. Directed Research instructors are encouraged to provide, and students should expect to receive, guidance in conducting legal research and completing citations that are appropriate to the subject matter. Directed Research is an intensive learning experience that is intended to enhance and improve a student’s research, writing and oral presentation skills. It is also an opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty member and receive individualized feedback. The faculty member in turn receives the research assistance of a student on a project of mutual interest. Where appropriate, the faculty member should provide appropriate authorial attribution (e.g., co-authorship, or “with” credit) to the student and, in any event, should acknowledge the student’s contributions to any work product that is published or produced. Grading: Students receive a standard letter grade for Directed Research. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and permission of the associate dean for Academic Affairs are required. Students ordinarily must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the time of enrollment in Directed Research, but if not, the student ordinarily should have a 3.33 (B+) average in the particular subject matter in which the research will be taken. If not, the associate dean for Academic Affairs may exercise discretion in deciding whether or not to permit the student to enroll in Directed Research.
The Legal Services Externship has two components: 1) a weekly two-hour seminar; and 2) 12 hours per week of supervised fieldwork with a provider of legal services to people who are in poverty or people who are disadvantaged, a public interest legal organization, the legal department of a not-for-profit healthcare provider, or a government agency. Students spend a day and a half, or three half-days, per week “in the field,” at the placement office or in court. Students in this program have interviewed clients, investigated factual claims, conducted administrative hearings and routine court appearances (answering calls and the like), drafted affidavits, and researched memoranda and briefs. Students also prepare seminar presentations and simulations, meet with the professor for individual tutorials, and maintain work logs and weekly journals. Fieldwork is supervised primarily by mentoring attorneys, with back-up from the professor. Seminar topics include legal skills, ethics, and legal issues affecting people in poverty, legal issues relating to bias and discrimination, and “case rounds” for mutual consultation. Fieldwork may include library research and other tasks that can be performed outside the placement office. Permission of the professor, based on application and interview, is required. Administrative Law is recommended. Health Law in America is required for Health Law placements. Summer only: The summer program is appropriate for students who have secured a non-paid legal position with a suitable organization. Students are required to work at their field placement 35 hours per week during the 8-week summer session. Some field placements may require students to work additional hours per week and/or for additional weeks during the summer.
This course will explore the worlds of healthcare privacy and security with a focus on the intersection of technology and the care of humans by humans. Students will be exposed to the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the Act’s implementing regulations (collectively “HIPAA”). In addition, students will learn practical approaches to identifying and resolving issues (including unauthorized disclosures and breach notifications) and learn about methods for demonstrating compliance.
This course explores risk spreading through common law and administrative regulation of insurance products. The course addresses liability insurance (commercial, automobile, professional, and product liability), as well as health and life insurance. Students learn how insurance institutions and the fact of insurance coverage affect economic behavior, on the part of individuals’ and lawyers’ litigation. The course also addresses the impact of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) on health and life insurance decisions, and examines the quasi-insurance aspects of managed healthcare.
State legislation and regulations can dramatically change how we live and how entire industries operate. Knowledge of these processes is fundamental to understanding the history and enactment of the statutes, regulations, and decisions that have formed environmental policy for the last 40 years. This course will examine the state budget, the role of annual budgetary hearings, the legislature’s unique issue development process, bill analysis, parliamentary procedure, constitutional authority, majority and minority party politics, and more. The context of the course will be New York State legislation and regulations as a microcosm of local, state, and federal practices. A premium will be placed on tracking and analyzing active bills, writing and researching legislative and regulatory comments, as well as student participation during legislative case studies from elected officials, legislative staff, and issue advocates and stakeholders.
This course is a study of statutory, regulatory, and decisional law in the field of mental health, both civil and criminal. The subjects include the nature of mental disability, civil commitment, guardianship, patients’ rights, deinstitutionalization and homelessness, the insanity defense, competency to stand trial, and the movement for reform in mental disability law.
This course examines major legal issues under federal and state law related to private nonprofit organizations. Among the issues addressed are nonprofits’ scope, rationale, and role in contemporary society; tax issues including the rationale and eligibility for exemption, restrictions on lobbying and political activity, and the unrelated business income tax; regulation of fundraising; state and federal supervision; competition between nonprofit and for-profit entities; compensation; the legal responsibilities of directors and officers; legal issues between members; and the misuse of the nonprofit form. There will be a final examination.
This course introduces students to the relationship between law and science, providing the opportunity to develop the lawyering skills necessary for effective use of science in litigation, legislation, regulatory, and transactional work. Science and the law intersect at many levels. For example, science helps lawyers prove the effects of climate change in order to formulate or comply with environmental regulation, to determine the legal liability of manufacturers of drugs and vaccines, to regulate potentially dangerous instruments like e-cigarettes, and to establish new claims and defenses. In short, in civil or criminal practice, lawyers look to science for certainty in the face of difficult legal questions. But science and the law are an uneasy fit. Each approaches the world differently, with different standards, methods, and vocabularies used by scientists and lawyers who are rarely trained beyond their own disciple. Using vaccine litigation, draft legislation, and developing medical science, this course explores the dilemmas lawyers face in using science and helps students develop the skills needed to make effective use of scientific proof.
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