Master of Science in Health Law and Policy

Through our online master of science program, you will develop marketable expertise in the increasingly complex world of health law and policy. Offered through Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, this program includes coursework in:  

  • Health Law
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Public Policy
  • Insurance
  • Health-care Administration, with a particular emphasis on health-care compliance 

Experienced faculty from both Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law and College of Health Sciences participate in the program. The curriculum and outcomes of this program are particularly meaningful for professionals in the fields of compliance, human resources, insurance and health-care administration.

Program Format+

The online M.S. in health law and policy is a 32-credit-hour master's degree program offered by Cumberland School of Law. Students are admitted to the program in fall term, and progress through the curriculum as a cohort. On-campus orientation is required of all students.  One additional on-campus experience during the second summer may also be required. Course sequence and scheduling for students admitted through fall 2017 will be:

Fall Year One

  • Introduction to Law and Public Policy (MHLP 510)
  • Introduction to Health Care Delivery Systems (MHLP 520)

Spring Year One

  • Healthcare Compliance: Laws and Regulations (MHLP 530)
  • Health Insurance (MHLP 540)

Summer Year One

  • Healthcare Compliance: Programs and Policies (MHLP 550)
  • Corporate Ethics in Healthcare (MHLP 560)

Fall Year Two

  • Healthcare Privacy and Security (MHLP 570)
  • Healthcare Compliance: Investigating, Auditing, Monitoring (MHLP 580)

Spring Year Two

  • Healthcare Finance (MHLP 590)
  • Patient Safety and Quality Improvement (MHLP 600)

Summer Year Two

  • Strategic Management of Healthcare (MHLP 610)
 

Program Outcomes+

This program prepares you for real-world settings. Graduates of this program are able to:

  1. Identify and apply sources of health-care law in the United States: statutes, regulations, administrative agency guidance, and court decisions.
  2. Analyze key issues in health policy and compliance from ethical, legal and economic perspectives.
  3. Interpret and evaluate complex information for use in health-care management decision making.
  4. Communicate complex ideas, orally and in writing, using legal, medical and industry-specific terminology.
  5. Create a model corporate compliance program for a health care organization.
  6. Pursue advanced compliance management roles in health-care organizations.
 

Application Information+

The entire M.S. in health law and policy application can be completed online, and must include the following:

  • Student Information
  • Academic History (preference given to students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher)
  • Academic/Supervisor Recommendations
  • Current Résumé
  • Personal Essay
  • Optional: GRE, GRE Subject, Miller Analogies (MAT) or GMAT scores 

Application Timeline

Cumberland School of Law welcomes applications for the M.S. in health law and policy throughout the year. However, applications will not be reviewed for decision until after the June 30 deadline. Prior to that date, you will be notified via email of items missing from your application file (personal essay, résumé, letters of recommendation, official college transcript(s)). Receipt of your completed application file also will be acknowledged via email.

The Graduate Admissions Committee reviews applications immediately following the June 30 deadline. Notification will be made by via e-mail by mid-July. As a cohort model, the M.S. in health law and policy admits students only for the fall term.

Important Dates

  • June 30, 2017: Application Deadline
  • July 8 - July 15, 2017: Admission Notifications
  • July 22, 2017: Priority Deadline to Submit FAFSA (students submitting after this date may not receive funds prior to the fall payment deadline)
  • August 18-19, 2017: On-Campus Orientation for MHLP 2019
  • August 28, 2017: First Day of Fall Term

Transcripts

Transcripts from each institution attended for credit should be sent directly from that institution to our office, at the following address: 

Samford University
Cumberland School of Law
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, Alabama 35229
Attention: Laura Tomlin

International Students

Samford University welcomes applications from international students.  Please make note of the following if you are applying from outside the United States:

  1. All transcripts from institutions outside the United States must be evaluated by World Educational Services (WES) or AACRAO. Those evaluations must then be sent to our office at the above address by the evaluating agency. Transcripts must indicate the successful completion of a bachelor's degree-equivalent program.
  2. Students from countries in which English is not the primary language and who have not earned a bachelor's degree-equivalent from an English-language institution must satisfy one of the following requirements for English language proficiency:
    • iBT TOEFL: Total score of 90, minimum 20 on each sub-sector
    • IELTS: 7.0, minimum 6.0 on each sub-score
     
 

Curriculum+

Introduction to Law & Public Policy (MHLP 510)

Introduction to the American legal system, including its constitutional structures (both as originally conceived and as evolving over time); the “common law” of property, contract and tort/criminal law; the rise of legislative and regulatory government; and the nature of the public policy process.

Introduction to the Health Care Delivery System (MHLP 520)

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 health-care delivery. The roles of patients, providers, insurers and suppliers will be established. Current health-care policy initiatives will be explored.

Introduction to Healthcare Compliance: Laws and Regulations (MHLP 530)

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the laws and regulations applicable to health-care 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 health-care settings.

Health Insurance (MHLP 540)

An overview of health insurance, health insurance regulation, state health reform efforts and recent proposals in Congress to reform the health-care system. The history of the development of health insurance and its theoretical basis, moral hazard and adverse selection will be examined with an emphasis on economics. The role of managed care and employer sponsored health insurance will be discussed. Government regulation of insurance and the Medicare and Medicaid programs will also be reviewed. A significant part of the course will focus on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on private health insurance markets.

Healthcare Compliance: Programs and Policies (MHLP 550)

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 world 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 (MHLP 560)

This course is divided into two parts: (1) an exploration of justice in health care, including issues related to access to health care 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 (MHLP 570)

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 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 (EHRs).

Healthcare Compliance: Investigating, Auditing, Monitoring (MHLP 580)

This course offers a comprehensive guide to investigating, auditing and monitoring through the lens of the health-care compliance officer. Students learn the practical skills necessary to perform internal investigations, develop procedures for responding to external investigations and when to involve legal counsel in the process. Students 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.

Healthcare Finance (MHLP 590)

This course provides an overview of the fundamentals of health-care finance and accounting. Financial and accounting data and processes for planning, cost control and reporting will be discussed. Particular emphasis will be placed on the compliance implications of financial decision making in a variety of health-care settings.

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement (MHLP 600)

Students will become familiar with the principles of a high reliability organization (HRO), Just Culture and how implementation can transform organizational culture to improve care. The importance of inter-professional relationships and team building to create change and sustain improvement are embedded throughout the course. Students will learn how to apply methods to assess the quality of health care using outcomes data. The student will understand the use of information technology, evidence based literature to improve quality, and methods for risk assessment and safe system design.

Strategic Management of Healthcare (MHLP 610)

Focuses on the three major aspects of strategic management – strategy formulation, strategy implementation and strategy control. Additionally, a comparison of ten schools of strategic management is explored, along with a categorization of the essential characteristics of strategic planning.

Accreditation+

The M.S. 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: Healthcare Compliance (CHC)™, Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC)®, Healthcare Privacy Compliance (CHPC)® Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP)®.

Financial Aid, Tuition & 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.

Once available, tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 academic year will be posted on the Student Financial Services website. Students in the M.S. in health law and policy pay Samford University’s graduate per-credit-hour tuition rate. For academic year 2016-17, the graduate per-credit-hour rate is $789. At this time, no scholarship opportunities are available for students in the M.S. in health law and policy.