Faculty Memorandum on Health Law
Updated September 2012
Faculty: David Frankford, Margo Kaplan, Kimberly Mutcherson, Rand Rosenblatt, Stanley Stahl
Adjunct Faculty: Jane Massey Licata, Martha Swartz
Health law is an expanding field of legal practice because the size of the sector is immense (national health expenditures are about one trillion dollars per year, over 14% of the national economy) and its market and legal structures are rapidly changing. The recent shift of most employers to some form of Amanaged care,@ the increasing consolidation of the insurance, hospital, and medical sectors, and a multitude of proposed and enacted laws and regulations and court decisions make this a fertile field for legal work.
Numerous practice opportunities exist. Examples include private practice, work as in-house counsel for health plans, HMOs, hospitals, and insurance companies, employment by federal, state, or local government, legal services work, and jobs in various policy capacities such as foundations and think-tanks. Work can involve representation of any of the participants in this vast and dynamic sector. For example, substantial opportunities are now emerging for important plaintiffs' and defense work on tort and contract liability sparked by the emergence of managed care. This area promises to continue as one of the boom areas of legal practice.
We are now offering several courses designed to prepare students to practice in this area. The four-credit course in Health Law is the fundamental building block.. This course is a comprehensive, in-depth examination of law and health care delivery, including the rapidly developing phenomenon of managed care. The course examines rights of access to care, the financing and organization of care, and quality of care, with particular emphasis on how law interacts with these issues. Prominent topics include: medical malpractice law and its reform; informed consent; the role of hospitals, HMOs, and other entities in assuring quality of care and bearing liability for damages; health insurance coverage decisions (e.g., denial of coverage on grounds of medical necessity or experimental care) and its regulation or lack thereof by the federal ERISA law, Medicare and Medicaid, and state legislation; ERISA preemption of state regulation and tort remedies; the Americans with Disabilities Act and its impact on access to care and on insurance coverage; the reimbursement of hospitals and other providers; the rise and regulation of managed care; the application of antitrust law to the health care industry; and the law of fraud and abuse. The course also discusses health reform efforts at the federal and state levels, the failure of national health insurance, and the legal, market, professional, and other social dynamics of the health care system.
Law and Biomedical Ethics is important for anyone who would represent health care providers, particularly institutional ones such as hospitals and nursing homes. The course should also be taken by any student who might work in a health care policy context. Examples of areas covered by the course include issues raised by the use of technologies in reproduction and end-of-life care, and those raised by the new genetics.
HIV/AIDS and The Law focuses on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, one of the greatest public health crises of the past two decades. This course explores the legal and ethical landscape of the epidemic, challenging students to think critically about the relationship between individual rights and public health and the ways in which race, class, gender, and sexual orientation have impacted and continue to impact the U.S. response to HIV/AIDS locally and globally.
Bioethics, Babies and Babymaking addresses critical ethical problems occasioned by advances in the technology of reproduction.
Health Care Fraud and Abuse Law is a rapidly expanding area of practice, involving the civil and criminal prosecution and defense of health care providers in the complex area of payment by government programs (Medicare and Medicaid) for health care services and the allocation of those funds among various health care entities and professionals.
Medical Malpractice, offered by Stanley Stahl, deals with the medical litigation process, including problems of expert witnesses, causation, damages, and defenses; and the law and policy of medical malpractice law reform, including legislative struggle(s) currently taking place nationwide. It examines the policy problems of balancing the rights of injured patients to be compensated versus the costs to the medical delivery system and the associated threat to the availability of medical care.
Other related courses:
Real Estate Transactions
Taxation of Business Entities