Course Descriptions

The program consists of 4 quarters of instruction, and students must complete 24 core units and 12 elective units.

Core Courses (24 units total)

HPL Seminar (6 units)

The HPL seminar provides a didactic connection point that links you to the trans-disciplinary field of health policy and law throughout your time in the program. During the first quarter (“HPL Seminar: Foundations”), core faculty overview the trans-disciplinary field as it is conceived in this master’s program. In the subsequent two quarters (HPL Seminar: Capstone Proposal” and “HPL Seminar: Capstone Execution,” respectively), you will gain access to a longitudinal forum to explore, develop and connect HPL concepts and principles to your own individual research projects or practical challenges for the capstone project. The last quarter (“HPL Seminar: Capstone Writeup”) includes final preparation of the capstone project, including peer and faculty feedback and refinement.

Health Policy (3 units)

Gain an overview of health policy history and issues, as well as contemporary challenges and opportunities at federal, state and local government levels. You review basic concepts and principles related to policy-making and the policy process. Through a trans-disciplinary approach, develop major themes that incorporate insights from sociological, political, economic and legal-ethical perspectives on the behaviors and motivations of stakeholders, including policy-makers, payers, providers and patients. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) serves as a policy case study throughout the course.

How to Evaluate Policy-Relevant Research (3 units)

Take an overview approach on the research methods used in health policy analysis, including principles of legal research and writing that inform health law. Emphasis is placed on understanding the value and limitations of different research designs and approaches to draw conclusions about policy-relevant issues. You are also prepared for advanced methods courses.

Organization and Finance (3 units)

Focus on how current health-care financing systems and emerging trends affect strategic technology development and market decisions. You will understand the underlying drivers of rising health spending, the policies that might slow it and the impact of possible policies on future product markets. Learn the fundamental components of health economics, financial analysis and strategies to increase health care value.

Health Economics (3 units)

Learn about the economic influences in the causal pathway to illness. Lectures cover economic burden of ill health, the effects of disease on economic productivity, metrics of the burden of disease, and the interrelations between economies and health policy. You also examine health-care delivery systems and qualitative methods of health measurement.

U.S. Health Care System and the Law (6 units)

Dive into the financing and regulation of the American health care industry, the cost of health care, barriers to access to health care and bioethics. Discuss issues related to private health insurance (including federal and state regulation of employer-provided health insurance), public health insurance (including Medicare, Medicaid and other government-financed health programs), the structure of the health care industry, the impact of the Affordable Care Act and health reform, new business forms employed by health care enterprises, tax-exempt status of health care enterprises, antitrust, fraud and abuse, the legal obligation to provide care, hospital privileging and ethical questions related to health care.

Sneak Peak Into the Course Content

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All applications due June 1


Health Policy Track Electives: (students select 12 units)

Econometrics and Cost Analysis (3 units)

Examine the economic structures of the health-care delivery system to understand the impact of competition and regulation on health-care costs experienced by payers, providers and patients. Research alternative forms of contracts and organizational structures that shape the health-care system’s economic performance and the organizations within that system. Look at recent changes in the health insurance and health care delivery markets.

Program Evaluation (3 units)

Gain a familiarity with different types of programs and intervention evaluations, including needs assessment, formative research, process evaluation, monitoring of outputs and outcomes, and impact assessment. Learn how to develop an evaluation plan and use systematically collected information about a program or intervention; understand whether and how the program is meeting its stated goals and objectives; improve program effectiveness; and make decisions about future programming. You focus on evaluations conducted in clinical and public health settings.

Organization and System Change (3 units)

Survey a range of translational tools at the heath-care system level that can be used to promote the adoption of evidence-based medicine by providers and delivery systems. Strategies for change are presented in the broader context of sociological theories of organizational behavior and policy implementation. You focus on translational tools that can be used by stakeholders outside of health-care organizations—including purchasers, payers and government regulators—to promote the adoption of clinical innovations within organizations. Such tools range from contract-based payment incentives, to performance monitoring, education and technical-assistance programs, to changes in existing government licensing laws and quasi-governmental regulations used by credentialing agencies.

Advanced Policy Analysis (3 units)

Learn the policy process and strategies to collect and disseminate research findings to inform and influence that process. Faculty—who have extensive experience at the federal, state and local levels in health-care policy—will deliver lectures that incorporate examples from their own work as the basis for teaching generalizable strategies to trainees at all levels of research sophistication.

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All applications due June 1


Health Law Track Electives (students select 12 units)

Health Care Reform: Legal Aspects (6 units)

Learn about issues of quality control and personal relationships in the health-care environment. It will address issues in professional licensing and the accreditation of health-care institutions, medical malpractice law (including institutional liability and tort reform), informed consent and the nature of the provider-patient relationship, and confidentiality of health care information (including the law surrounding HIPAA and the development of electronic health records).

Provider-Patient Relationships (6 units)

Take a deep dive into key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), their implementation through administrative agency rulemaking and other actions, and litigation challenging enforceability or effect of those provisions. This course is intended to be responsive to current legal developments surrounding the ACA; therefore, the particular substantive focus may shift from year to year.

Learn about legal writing and research, including

  • methods for creative and efficient research strategies that fit the nature of an assignment
  • strategies for selecting specific research resources
  • how to explain research strategy in detail to others
  • how to describe how research choices lead to the resources chosen
  • how to show all sources consulted, recording all key search terms
  • providing a sufficient narrative description of your research process.

At the end of the course, you will be able to develop and implement strategies for researching legal issues; identify the major primary and secondary authorities online and in print; evaluate and effectively use subscription online databases, including Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law; and evaluate and effectively use reliable free online alternatives to fee-based legal research databases.

Institutional Regulation and Compliance (3 units)

In conjunction with Provider-Patient Relationships, you continue to learn the legal aspects of the U.S. health care system and build upon the foundational learnings acquired in U.S. Health Care System and the Law. Dive into some of the primary areas in which a distinct category of health law has developed, including quality control through institutional licensing and accreditation; institutional health facility tort liability; federal and state law of health informational privacy; contracting and employment issues in the health care industry; fraud and abuse regulation; the application of antitrust law in a rapidly consolidating industry; public health; and bioethics.

In the first module, Professional Relationships Within Health Care Enterprises and Institutional Malpractice Liability, you learn about the professional relationships between and among healthcare enterprises, including medical staff membership and privileges and employment law; liability of healthcare facilities, including the law of agency, hospital district liability and the Accountable Care Act; tort liability in the managed care context; and quality-control regulation through licensing healthcare and institutional providers.

In the second module—Confidentiality, Privacy and Bioethics—you address federal privacy law for providers (HIPAA) and other statutory protections of patient confidentiality; reproduction and the law, including contraception and abortion; and end-of-life issues, including medically assisted dying.

Apply Now

All applications due June 1


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