What Law Classes Do I Have to Take in a Master’s in Health Policy Program?

What law classes do I have to take in a Master's in Health Policy program? With the field changing nearly overnight since President Trump has taken office, learning about the legal ramifications of health stances and regulations has never been more important. Here are four courses most students will be required to take at the graduate level.

Resource: Top 20 Online Health Policy Master's Degree Programs 2017-2018

Foundation in Legal Issues and Medicine

As the title suggests, this is a foundational, and therefore required, course that introduces the relationship between law and medicine to graduate students; it is an advanced course that is often taken during the first term of a student's degree plan. The course covers the majority of the issues that will affect a student's experience with public health and policy, including healthcare reform at the state and federal level, informed consent, malpractice cases, electronic health records in trial cases, and more. It is the first of many courses that a student will have to take as part of the required curriculum for their degree.

Research Forum

Nearly all graduate programs in this field will require that a student go through a health research course because so much of public policy in health requires critical thinking and writing skills in order for a professional to be effective in the field. This course is often structured around a case study of the professor's or student's choosing and can be taken as an independent research course or with a class for teamwork purposes. The goal of the course is to ensure that all students have a firm grip on research and understand its usefulness within their chosen discipline.

Health Legislation and Policy

This course is different from learning about the foundational relationship between legal issues and medicine; it focuses on the delivery system and accessibility of health care in America. From the beginning of the nation to the Affordable Care Act and the current healthcare reform fight taking place in Congress, schools around the country require this course for graduate students because it enlightens them to the history of public health and policy with regard to the policy. Virtually every aspect of health care will be covered in this course, from third-party payments to cost-control and rationing of services. This is a required course by most graduate institutions because of how in-depth the course syllabus goes into the health care system.

Institutional Regulation and Compliance

Most graduate programs in this field will require, or at least strongly suggest, that a student take a course in institutional regulation and compliance. This course is dedicated to providing students with a strong understanding of federal regulations and compliance codes that both provider and payor institutions must adhere to; this also includes state and local regulations. Students will also learn about the regulations that affect Medicare and Medicaid as well as EMTALA violations and how policy can be used to the benefit of patients in order to hold facilities to account for any mistakes or corruption.

Health and public policy have always been a complicated issue in this country. With politics swaying regulations and even the legislation itself, it has never been more important for students to take on legal courses to become effective leaders in the field. Now that we have answered the question, what law classes do I have to take in a Master's in Health Policy program, students can go forward understanding the requirements put in front of them by the country's leading institutions.

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