LAWH- Health Law
Students who earn a Master's of Law in Health Systems Law will have the knowledge of legal principles and skills necessary to work in a position of significant responsibility within a health care industry. This degree, however, does not qualify a student to take a bar examination or prepare a student for the practice of law. Students will understand the various governmental entities which govern the U.S. health system and regulate health care entities. Students will understand the role of law and the legal profession in that system. Students will develop the skills necessary to identify relevant legal rules affecting health care entities. Students will develop skills necessary to help health care providers and entities comply with a variety of legal requirements. Students will develop the ability to adapt to a dynamic legal and market environment and apply skills learned in the Master's Program as regulations and market forces change.
Requirements for Admission:
Successful completion of undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution or the equivalent.
Statement of interest and resume.
Two professional or academic letters of recommendation.
Qualifying scores on either the GRE or LSAT. Competitive applicants will have a combined GRE score or an LSAT score that is consistent with the prevailing admitted applicant profile for the JD program.
Required Courses (15 Credit Hours):
LAWH 700 (3)* Legal Foundations of the Health Care System I
LAWH 701 (2) Legal Foundations of the Health Care System II
LAWH 702 (1) Legal Foundations of the Health Care System Lab
LAWH 710 (2) Public Health Systems
LAWH 712 (2) Bioethical Principles (Applied Learning)
LAWH 714 (2) Health Care Contracting (Applied Learning)
LAWH 716 (3) Medicare Compliance for Medical Facilities
* This requirement may be waived if a student has a J.D. degree or equivalent prior legal experience; in substitution, the student will be required to take 3 additional hours of electives.
All candidates for a Master’s degree must complete a comprehensive assessment in the major field of study that is distinct from program course requirements. A comprehensive assessment is one that requires a student to synthesize and integrate knowledge acquired in coursework and other learning experiences and to apply theory and principles in a situation that approximates some aspect of professional practice or research in the discipline. It must be used as a means by which faculty judge whether the student has mastered the body of knowledge and can demonstrate proficiency in the required competencies. Many different models are possible, including written and oral comprehensive examinations, portfolios, supervised practice placements with comprehensive evaluation, a major written paper such as a thesis or an applied research project, or development of case studies. Students may complete a project related to an elective course of their choice or an externship (if externships are a part of the program). Projects must reflect significant work in addressing a hypothetical or real issue involving legal compliance or health law or policy.
Elective Courses (15 Credit Hours):
LAWH 720 (2) Health Policy Advocacy
LAWH 722 (2) Risk Management
LAWH 724 (2) Certificates of Need
LAWH 726 (2) The Intersection of Health Law and Technology
LAWH 728 (2) Comparative Studies in International Health Care
LAWH 730 (3) Healthcare Structure Planning for Companies & Non-Profits
LAWH 732 (3) Medicare Quality Compliance
LAWH 734 (2) Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Compliance
LAWH 736 (2) Third Party Billing Compliance
This program is intended to give individuals knowledge of health law that will enhance their careers and employment prospects in a range of law-related positions. Health care employment has grown steadily and accounts for a significant portion of the national and regional economies. Many such positions are closely related to the law – ensuring compliance with a range of regulatory structures, managing a dynamic set of insurance requirements, and managing various forms of legal risk.
Kennedy & Company reports that, nationally, both the overall number of compliance personnel jobs and salaries paid for these jobs have increased over the past decade, and even increased during the great recession. In addition, the share of the law-related job market filled by individuals with master’s degrees has increased in recent years. While those trends are evident across multiple industries, they are particularly strong in the health care field. The consultants identified this field as one involving an “increasing number of jobs [which] value legal training,” but which do not require a J.D. These jobs include health care providers and insurers managing various compliance, risk management, privacy, and regulatory oversight obligations. The consultants considered a range of possible non-J.D. programs which the law school could explore, and ranked health law as “very strong” for its “market research & job outlook” – the highest possible ranking.
Data provided by Kennedy & Company, the consulting group retained by the Law School to conduct several surveys to assess viability, suggests that there is a market for this program. Kennedy and Company predicts that student enrollment in the master’s program will gradually increase over the program's first several years. While uncertainty about precise enrollment figures is inevitable, Kennedy and Company projects student enrollment that exceeds what would be necessary to cover costs of the programs, based on enrolling about 15 masters students in the first year and increasing to 30-40 total masters students after a several-year start-up phase. Several peer and aspirant schools – such as Emory, University of Georgia, Wake Forest, Loyola University Chicago, University of Pittsburgh – offer non-J.D. programs focused on health law. The Kennedy & Company consultants’ market research concludes that the market for students is large enough, and growing fast enough, to permit a new entrant to succeed. In addition, while some other universities offer in-person only non-J.D. programs, we plan to offer online courses as coursework is approved for online delivery and hybrid programs (as explained below), which will make our programs accessible to a wider range of students. Three factors support the belief that sufficient demand exists to sustain this program. First, the number of non-J.D. programs offered by a range of peer and aspirant schools has grown over the last 5-10 years, including programs focused on health law. These programs include online and hybrid programs, like the health systems law program proposed here. The growth of these programs national and regionally strongly suggests that a market exists. These programs have operated consistently at a number of schools, and we do not believe those schools would continue to operate them if they did not generate a profit. Conversations with representatives from many of these programs being operated around the country confirm this belief. Second, survey data suggests that significant interest exists in programs such as those proposed here. The consultants surveyed a sample of possible students, including USC Capstone students, USC Pre-Law students, and students from a variety of undergraduate institutions who had registered with the LSAC, and a graduate degree program related to health law was the most popular specialization preference reported. Survey respondents reported a high degree of interest in master’s degree programs and interest in online or hybrid programs. Third, our conversations with other schools within the University, especially the School of Medicine and College of Pharmacy, suggests that many of their students and alumni (and, by inference, alumni of similar schools at other universities) would have a strong interest in the proposed health systems law program.
This program complements other USC offerings in the health care field, by focusing on the legal aspects of compliance work in the industry. It also provides the School of Law with a signature program of emphasis in a field of growing popularity. We will distinguish our program from comparable offerings at other institutions. First, our program will provide all students with a strong contextual grounding in the operation of the American legal system and the American health care regulatory system, and a range of specialized courses created specifically for this program, along with applied learning opportunities. By offering courses not already in the J.D. degree program, the School of Law’s program will be tailored more effectively to meet the needs and career goals of students wishing to enter into or advance in a variety of health related occupations, other than the practice of law. Through this curricular structure, our program will provide the foundation for students to adapt to this dynamic field. Moreover, the program may involve other schools on campus that could benefit the programs and whose students could benefit from these programs, such as the Schools of Public Health, Pharmacy, Medicine, and Business, if such involvement improves the efficiency or quality of the program.
There are no similar law programs in the state and no closely related programs within the University of South Carolina. The Arnold School of Public Health does offer a Masters in Health Administration. That program has two courses similar to proposed courses and which could be co-listed with this program.
Thank you for sending the proposals for the School of Law’s Masters of Law in Health Systems and certificate program in Health Care Compliance. The School of Medicine is fully supportive of both of these proposals and we can certainly attest to the growing need for expertise in this area for both our MD and PA students and graduates.
Thank you and the School of Law for your willingness to design these programs and make them available.
If I can provide any further information or help please let me know.
February 4, 2019
Ref: Master’s of Law in Health Systems Law
Ref: Certificate in Health Care Compliance
I am pleased to add my enthusiastic support for the proposed graduate degree program that will award a Master’s degree of Law in Health Systems Law, and for the proposed certificate program which will award the Certificate in Health Care Compliance. Housing those programs in the University of South Carolina School of Law is an excellent opportunity that aligns with the university’s focus on interprofessional education. The ASPH has reviewed these proposals, and does not see any conflict with our programs.
I look forward to working with the School of Law on this program.
James W. Hardin, PhD
Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Curriculum
Professor and Division Director of Biostatistics
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Let this serve as a letter of concurrence for the health systems programs.
Professor of Economics
Senior Associate Dean for Research
Moore School of Business University of South Carolina
January 31, 2019
Eboni S. Nelson
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law
University of South Carolina School of Law
1525 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29208
Dear Dean Nelson:
The College of Pharmacy is pleased to support the USC School of Law’s proposal for a new Master of Law in Health Systems Law and a certificate program in Health Care Compliance. We believe these programs will be in demand and welcomed by individuals who need a legal and regulatory background for their careers. The College of Pharmacy looks forward to collaborating with the School of Law to offer our graduates the opportunity to expand their career horizons and to reciprocate in the education of our students with an interest in the legal and regulatory aspects of health care.
Gene Reeder, RPh, PhD
Professor and Interim Senior Associate Dean
Return to proponent. Email from Grad Council for assistance
This description addresses the minimum of 30 hours. Given additional concerns, this proposal can go forward to be eligible for other approvals in the chain. This cannot appear in the Graduate Bulletin until the courses are approved.
BOT AA: June 7; BOT: June 21, NOC to CHE, and SACSCOC Prospectus.