Public Health Law & Science Center


Details about the Health Law Certificate

This is a short summary of the 14 credit Certificate in Health Law for JD students. A core set of four courses and an externship experience will make-up the Health Law Certificate. These courses are described below.

Students will also be encouraged to take other classes from a robust list of elective courses that include Administrative Law, Disability Law, Elder Law, Food and Drug Law, Genetics and the Law, Intellectual Property (any course), Biotech Patent Law, Public Health Law, Special Education Law, Expert Evidence, Law & Psychiatry, Insurance Law, Law and Complementary and Alternative Medicine.


Health Law I: Quality, Cost and Access (3): This course concentrates on the relationship between the physician and patient and how this relationship impacts quality, cost and access to healthcare. It begins with the definition of illness, the nature of health care, quality of health and its measurement and the problems of medical error including its origins and strategies for reducing its incidence. In addition, the state’s regulation of the quality of healthcare through state licensure and discipline is examined. The professional-patient relationship is then analyzed starting with formation and progressing to confidentiality, informed consent and the duty to provide care. Finally, the framework for both private peer review actions and malpractice suits against healthcare professionals are studied and the doctrinal and evidentiary dimensions of these two different types of private and public litigation are explored.

Health Law II: Organization and Finance (3): The focus of this course is on healthcare institutions (hospitals, nursing homes, hospice care facilities, insurers and managed care organizations) rather than on the individual physician-patient relationship. Topics for selective study include access to health care; private and public programs for financing and purchasing health services; the economics of health care and health care costs; the role of professionalism versus the new commercialism in health care; the legal and tax treatment of not-for-profit corporations; the regulation of commercial practice in professional fields; fraud and abuse in government programs; the application of antitrust law in professional fields; the internal organization and legal liabilities of hospitals; and public regulation of managed-care organizations. Study of the diverse legal problems encountered by a single industry, particularly one as important, complex, and intrinsically interesting as health care, may appeal to students generally interested in public policy and in law and economics as well as those with specific interests in the health care field.

Health Law III: Government Provision of Healthcare (2): This course focuses on government programs that provide or finance health care including the federal Medicare program, the state and federal Medicaid program and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Topics for selective study include federal initiatives for expanding private health care coverage including ACA (Obamacare), COBRA, HIPPA and the Americans with Disabilities Act are covered. Specific topics may include eligibility, benefits, payments, administration and appeals and reform of these government programs and initiatives. Finally, government efforts to curtail fraud and abuse in these programs are examined including the struggle to control false claims, kick-backs and fee splitting.

Health Law IV: Bioethics (3): Health Law IV: Bioethics (3): This course examines the emerging legal concepts reflecting the rapid developments in modern medicine and the moral concerns of society. Emphasis is on judicial decisions and philosophical analyses dealing with issues such as genetic manipulation (treating disease, creating super-humans), novel modes of procreation (cloning, IVF), maternal-fetal conflicts, human experimentation, the nature of consent regarding medical procedures, control of drugs and organs, definitions of death, and the implications of euthanasia.

Health Law Externship (3): Through Akron Law's Health Law Externship, students will develop practical lawyering skills through live-client and real-life practice experiences in non-profit health care offices. Students also gain greater understanding of the doctrines, substantive laws and context of healthcare. This externship requirement can be waived and the Certificate can be fulfilled by either the completion of an appropriate substitute course or writing requirement at the discretion of the Director of the Health Law Program.

The University of Akron

Akron, OH 44325
Phone: 330-972-7111
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