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Program curriculum will address the legal and policy issues facing health care practitioners and organizations, as well as the practical compliance skills necessary for advancement in a variety of roles in health care organizations.

Go to Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.)

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will:

  • Utilize legal databases to access the primary sources of health care law in the United States: statutes, regulations, and court decisions.
  • Analyze key issues in health policy and compliance from ethical, legal, and economic perspectives.
  • Interpret and evaluate cost effectiveness and outcomes studies for use in healthcare management decision making
  • Communicate complex ideas, orally and in writing, using legal, medical and industry-specific terminology.
  • Implement the basic components of an effective corporate compliance program in health care.
  • Implement safeguards for privacy and security pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • Continuously adapt to the evolving health system in the United States.
  • Prepare students for advancement in compliance management roles in health care organizations.
  • Provide leadership in the enhancement of patient safety and quality improvement.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to the Health Care Delivery System

This course is foundational in understanding the complexity of the health care delivery system. Before recommendations can be made on health policy, one must understand and be able to answer questions relative to who is impacted, what is needed, and why. This course familiarizes the student with the system components of health care delivery to include health policy, population health, medical care delivery, support for medical care delivery, and the future of healthcare delivery. The roles of patients, providers, insurers, and suppliers will be established. Current healthcare policy initiatives will be explored.

Introduction to Healthcare Compliance: Laws and Regulations

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the laws and regulations applicable to healthcare organizations, the agencies and organizations that create policy and enforce compliance, and the penalties for noncompliance. Specifically, the False Claims Act, Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute, Affordable Care Act, CMS regulations, federal income tax and antitrust statutes will be discussed. An overview of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the seven elements of compliance programs will serve as a backdrop for this study of the law. Students will apply their knowledge of these laws and regulations to case studies covering a wide variety of healthcare settings.

Healthcare Insurance and Finance

An overview of health care insurance and finance. Provides an introduction to basic finance and accounting tools as well as payment systems. Topics covered include: methods and processes for reimbursement, compliance, coding and HIPAA considerations, Meaningful Use, and Recovery Audit Contractors.

Healthcare Compliance: Programs and Policies

This course will allow students to apply the knowledge of compliance laws and regulations gained during MHLP 530 to the process of compliance program development. Using case studies and real word scenarios, students will have the opportunity to analyze and respond to compliance issues faced by a variety of health care settings that can then be applied to the student’s own organization. Students will work in groups to create a compliance program for a fictional company.

Corporate Ethics in Healthcare

This course is divided into two parts: (1) an exploration of justice in healthcare including issues related to access to healthcare and allocation of resources based on economic evaluation or bedside rationing; and (2) a problem-based approach to common legal and ethical issues encountered by the management team of a health care corporation.

Healthcare Privacy and Security

An overview of federal and state health privacy and security laws and regulations including HIPAA and HITECH will be provided with special emphasis on regulatory compliance. HIPAA privacy and security risks, standards and risk management will be reviewed. Security incidents and the breach notification rule will be discussed. Audit controls, integrity and authentication are also reviewed. Tort liability for unauthorized disclosure will be reviewed along with tort liability for the failure to disclose to information about a dangerous patient to third parties. A significant part of the course will focus on the impact of the transition to Electronic Health Records.

Healthcare Compliance: Investigating, Auditing, Monitoring

This course offers a comprehensive guide to investigating, auditing, and monitoring through the lens of the healthcare compliance officer. Students will learn the practical skills necessary to perform internal investigations, develop procedures for responding to external investigations, and learn when to involve legal counsel in the process. Students will also learn strategies and resources for effective audits and monitoring and how those processes and procedures can benefit the organization. Communication of compliance policies to all constituents, from caregivers to executive management will be explored. Measuring effectiveness and development and implementation of training and education programs will also be addressed.

Health Law and Policy Capstone

Students will sharpen communication skills as they work with a mentor to develop a unique, well-researched project to present to classmates or and colleagues virtually or on-campus.   

Career Information

Professionals in the fields of healthcare administration, nursing, medicine, compliance, and human resources will enhance their existing careers as a result of earning this degree.  Recent graduates can expect to improve their marketability and entry-level professional career opportunities in the fields listed above through the program. 

Students in this program may choose to enhance their career options by pursuing a credential or certification from a professional organization.  Below are some options that may benefit students in the Health Law and Policy concentration.

Below are some links to healthcare compliance job opportunities that may be available in your area:

Advisory Board

  • Marcella Auerbach, Managing Partner, Nolan Auerbach & White, P.L.
  • John Beard, Chairman and President, Alacare Home Health and Hospice Services, Inc.
  • Jolee Bollinger, General Counsel, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System
  • Wes Brown, Director, Healthcare Services Group, L. Paul Kassouf & Co., P.C.
  • Michael Catalano, Vice President and General Counsel, Southern Research
  • Pamela Felkins Colbert, Vice President, The van Halem Group, LLC
  • Jeff Dance, Chief Operating Officer, Kassouf Healthcare Solutions
  • Susan Dominick Doughton, Shareholder, Dominick Feld Hyde, P.C.
  • Karen Everitt, Vice President, Education and Quality Improvement, ProAssurance
  • Deborah Grimes, Chief Diversity Officer, UAB Health System
  • Barry Grosse, Chief Compliance Officer, University of Miami Health System
  • Ronda Lacey, Adjunct Professor of Pharmacy Law, McWhorter School of Pharmacy
  • Mark Likos, Senior Director of Risk Management and Legal, Brookwood Baptist Health
  • Mary Menard, Chief Compliance Officer, DST Health Solutions
  • Jeffrey Pigott, Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Internal Audit, Huntsville Hospital
  • Matthew Potter, Compliance Risk Advisor, Humana
  • Nan Priest, Executive Vice president and Chief Strategy Officer, St. Vincent's Health System
  • Cynthia Ransburg-Brown, University Counsel, Sirote & Permutt, PC
  • Dawn Rock, Chief Compliance Officer, Healthsouth Corporation
  • Paul Storey, Chief Executive Officer, Helen Keller Hospital
  • Jim Stroud, Member, Warren Averett, LLC
  • Brantley Synco, Director of Information and Physical Security, Baptist Baptist Health
  • Michael Velezis, Vice President of Legal Services, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama
  • John Whittington, Of Counsel, Healthsouth Corporation

Pharm.D./MHLP Coordinated Degree

Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law and McWhorter School of Pharmacy offer a coordinated degree plan for students who wish to earn both a Pharm.D. and a Master of Science in Health Law and Policy. This coordinated program is designed for students currently enrolled in the McWhorter School of Pharmacy. Because of that, the program of study and application process is unique to those students. Students currently pursuing the Pharm.D. degree at Samford may learn more about the coordinated program by viewing the documents below. Students interested in applying for the program should complete the application, below, and scan back to Laura Tomlin at Any student interested in the program should become familiar with the Academic Policies and Procedures outlined in the Student Handbook and included below.


The Master of Studies in Law with a concentration in Health Law and Policy is accredited by the Compliance Certification Board (CCB)®. Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for any of the following credentialing exams offered by the Compliance Certification Board without having to meet the typical work experience or CEU requirements: Healthcare Compliance (CHC)™, Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC)®, Healthcare Privacy Compliance (CHPC)® Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP)®.

Program Goals

The goals of the Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs are to:

  • Prepare students for professional careers through a systematic program of real world courses and training
  • Encourage graduates to pursue relevant professional credentials from industry-leading organizations
  • Empower students to communicate and interact effectively with attorneys, compliance professionals, and other members of the legal community
  • Develop the core competencies in a specialized field of study which are necessary for professional success

Admission Requirements

All applicants must complete and submit an online application.  All materials must be submitted through the online system which includes detailed instructions.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to log into his or her application to confirm that all required materials (recommendations, transcripts) have been received.  Official transcripts  must be submitted directly from the awarding institution to:

Cumberland School of Law, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham Alabama, 35229, ATTN: Grad Law. 

Applicants must submit a transcript indicating the award of a qualifying degree.  For M.S.L. students, the qualifying degree is a bachelor's degree.  For LL.M. students, the qualifying degree is a Juris Doctor.

Please allow ample time for transcript orders to be processed.

Minimum Requirements for Admission

Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.)

  • A bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA from a regionally accredited institution
  • GRE or MAT scores strongly advised, but not required, for students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement indicating career plans and likelihood of success in graduate study
  • Professional resume

Master of Laws (LL.M.)

  • Must have earned a J.D. or be currently enrolled as a J.D. student at Cumberland School of Law
  • One letter of recommendation from a former faculty member or professional colleague
  • Personal statement indicating career plans and likelihood of success in graduate study
  • Professional resume
Important Dates
  • Application Open – October 15, 2019
  • Priority Application Deadline - March 1, 2020
  • Final Application Deadline – April 1, 2020 (all application materials must be received by this date)
  • Summer Term Begins – June 1, 2020

International Applicant Information

Financial Aid, Tuition and Fees

For information about financial aid, please visit the Office of Financial Aid online or contact their office at 205-726-2905 or 1-800-888-7245.

Tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 academic year are posted on the Student Financial Services website. Students in the M.S.L. and LL.M. programs pay Samford University’s graduate per-credit-hour tuition rate. For academic year 2019-20, the graduate per-credit-hour rate is $862.  Please see the link above for complete information, including fees.  You may also view our Virtual Information Session for tuition and fee information. At this time, no scholarship opportunities are available for students in the M.S.L. or LL.M. programs.

Our Team

Photo of Kim Davey
Kim Davey, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.A.
Associate Professor
Department of Public Health
Office: 1626 CHS Building 1
Photo of Michael E. DeBow
Michael E. DeBow
Steven Everett Wells Professor of Municipal Law
Cumberland School of Law
Office: Robinson Hall
Photo Unavailable
Lynne Lee
Photo of Paige Price
Paige Price
Assistant Director of Graduate Programs
Office: Robinson Hall
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Kelli Robinson
Photo of Laura H. Tomlin
Laura H. Tomlin
Director of Graduate and International Programs
Office: Robinson Hall