Elective Courses

Elective Courses, Seminars and Externships

Core Health Law Electives | Other Health Law Electives | Seminars |  Externships

Core Health Law Electives
One of these courses must be taken; some may not be offered every year.

  • Bioethics and the Law* (2 credits) This seminar examines ethical issues involved in the delivery of health care, considering such topics as advanced medical technology at the end of life and advanced medical directives. *This course is rquired for LL.M. students.
  • Health Care Finance (2 credits) This course examines how health care services rendered by physicians and institutional providers are reimbursed. The course provides the student with an understanding of the complex interaction of private insurance, the federal Medicare program and the state/federal Medicaid program.
  • Health Care Industry: Regulating Fraud & Abuse (2 credits) This seminar provides a sophisticated analysis of various statutes and other sources of law that regulate physician and provider conflicts of interest, including the fraud abuse amendments, Stark I and II, the Clinical Laboratories Act, and other state and federal laws.
  • Health Care Transactions (2 credits) This course provides an overview of the rapidly evolving organizational forms through which health care is delivered in the United States and examines contemporary health care transactions, such as the formation of integrated delivery systems, physician practice management companies, physician practice acquisitions and physician compensation. The issues are reviewed from a transactional lawyer's perspective, and case studies are used to identify relevant legislative issues and to arrive at practical legal solutions.
  • Public Health Law (2 credits) Legislatures, state and federal agencies, and courts charged with protecting the public health are governed by requirements of law: constitutional, statutory and regulatory, and common. In a variety of contexts, this course explores the responsibilities actions and decisions of these entities in their efforts to safeguard the public health. This course explores the public health response to the problems of infectious diseases, chronic illnesses, accidents, and bioterrorism. The state's power to encroach on the liberties and decision making of individuals where it is argued to serve a greater, public good will be considered. This course may also explore such measures as civil commitment, procreation and human experimentation and clinical research.

Other Health Law Electives

  • Biotechnology and the Law ( 2 credits) Biotechnology is revolutionizing health care and is at the forefront of research and development ("R&D) global industries ranging from agriculture to industrial processes. The course will explore this technology and a range of areas in law, business, and bioethics along the R&D continuum from the laboratory bench to the marketplace.
  • Children's Health Law (2 credits) This course provides a detailed examination of the legal and ethical issues relating to children's health with particular focus on the right to demand treatment, right of parents to refuse treatment (Jehovah Witnesses' right to die, anencephalic infants as organ donors, access to medical treatment for poor children, pediatric drug research, and teenagers and reproductive rights.
  • ERISA (2 credits) This course surveys the federal taxation and regulation of pensions and employee benefit plans. Some provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) will be examined in depth, and the application of other laws such as the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) will be considered. Central themes from the course include the various types of tax-qualified pension plans and deferred compensation arrangements, welfare benefits, administrative requirements and fiduciary roles and responsibilities.
  • Food and Drug Law (2 credits) This course provides a detailed look at the regulatory system that governs food, drugs, and medical devices. The course also examines product liability issues associated with the marketing of these products.
  • Health Care Antitrust (2 credits) This course examines the application of the antitrust laws to the health care industry. It includes consideration of issues arising from agreements and collective action among health care providers, such as agreements related to fees and accreditation activities. The course also addresses the restructuring and integration of the health care industry, including issues raised by joint ventures among physicians, hospital mergers, and financial arrangements between providers and third-party payers.
  • Health Care Professions (2 credits) This course is designed to acquaint law students with the medical profession: the doctor-patient relationship; the emergence of managed care; and the physician's relationship to institutional providers such as hospital and integrated delivery systems.
  • Health Systems and Hospital Representation (2 credits) This course will focus on the wide range of issues that arise in the ordinary course of representing hospitals and health systems. It addresses federal and state requirements, managed care and other reimbursement concerns, patient care issues, medical staff, business relationships and other matters.
  • Insurance Law (2 credits) This course studies the law relating to insurance, with a focus on property and liability insurance. In addition to general insurance contract interpretation and rights at variance with policy provisions, the course focuses on the nature of the insurers' indemnity and defense obligations, theories of insurable interest, measures of recovery, and insured and insurers' rights and remedies.
  • Medical Malpractice (2 credits) This course will explore the various theories of physician liability, hospital liability, HMO liability, and pharmaceutical liability. Included among the bases of liability will be informed consent, ostensible agency, negligent credentialing of physicians, nursing negligence, and negligent referral. Practice issues relating to evidence of the standard of care, discovery, deposition taking, and trial preparation will also be covered.
  • Professional Liability and Insurance (2 credits) This course analyzes liability of physicians, attorneys, architects, accountants, insurance brokers, and others. Approximately one-half of course time is devoted to medical malpractice, including hospital and corporate liability. The materials and lectures attempt to provide a basic understanding for the handling of a medical-legal or other professional liability case, considering the grounds of liability, the applicable standard of care, statutes of limitations, burden of proof, and damage. The unique terms elements, and issues involved in professional insurance coverage will also be covered.
  • Toxic Torts (3credits) The rapid growth of hazardous substance litigation raises unique legal questions. This course examines both the substantive and procedural problems related to toxic tort litigation, with emphasis on toxic product litigation and hazardous waste. Subject areas include: product liability; clean-up of hazardous waste sites; occupational exposure; causation and scientific evidence; new theories (e.g. claims for increased risk of disease); government liability; and mass torts. Substances addressed may include asbestos, DES and other prescription drugs, chemical exposures, cigarettes, blood products, radiation, lead paint, pesticides, and silicone gel breast implants.
  • Workers' Compensation (2 credits) Combining theoretical and practical approaches, this course studies the development and application of workers' compensation statues. Among the topics that will be covered are: statutory elements of a claim for an accident to be work-related and compensable; defenses, burdens of proof, and procedure; distinctions among occupational injury, disease, and stress claims; different types of compensation available; effect of workers' compensation on civil actions and related claims for damages and disability; and current legislative proposals.

Some seminars are not offered every year.

  • Advanced Forensic Evidence (2 credits) This is an advanced seminar in evidence, with primary emphasis on cutting-edge scientific developments. The seminar is team-taught by an experienced trial lawyer and a Ph.D. scientist, with several guest lecturers.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (2 credits) Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is truly one of the foremost "growth industries" in the law, reflecting the growing number of success stories of those who use it. This course considers all the alternatives to traditional adversarial state and federal court adjudication, such as arbitration, mediation, negotiations, dispute prevention (partnering), conciliation, neutral facilitators, and private judging. It also examines court-annexed dispute resolution, such as mediated court settlement, summary jury trials, min-trials and the use of referees and masters. The various methods of dispute resolution are examined for effectiveness in light of the growing acceptance of ADR by the courts in all areas including public policy questions, once considered forbidden territory for ADR. The course also highlights the importance of selecting the right person to serve as arbitrator, mediator, or other type of neutral facilitator.
  • Law and Psychology (2 credits) This seminar explores mental illness and mental retardation in various contexts, such as criminal law, institutions, the community, and torts and employment.
  • Reproductive Rights (2 credits) This seminar examines development of laws affecting reproduction, including sterilization, contraception, abortion, and maternal-fetal conflicts. It explores technological advances that have created new legal challenges in these areas, including in vitro fertilization, genetic testing, and the impact of human genome project.
  • Representing the Elderly Client (2 credits) This seminar surveys legal problems relating to senior citizens, including guardianship, nursing home issues, living wills, widow(er)'s benefits, Social Security and other public entitlements, and age discrimination.
  • "Right to Die" and Other End-Of-Life Decisions (2 credits) Ten years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court's Cruzan opinion established that individuals have a right to decline life saving medical treatment even if death will clearly ensue. Cruzan, subsequent state court opinions, and federal and state statutes involving end-of-life medical treatment have had a profound impact on the way in which end-of-life care is delivered. Such decisions are necessary under extremely varied situations-from a parent's decision to withhold treatment from a premature newborn, to a cancer patient's decision to utilize physician-assisted suicide, to a daughter's decision to make her elderly mother "DNR." This course uses a fiction novel and other popular media articles to form a basis for class discussion addressing the legal, ethical, and practical impact of these and other aspects of the right to die.
  • Tobacco and the Law (2 credits) This seminar will focus on the legal issues involving tobacco. It examines litigation issues and regulatory matters, as well as current topics. The landmark United States Supreme Court decision of Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. v. FDA will be analyzed. Other subjects that may be explored include jurisdictional issues, current and proposed legislation, cultural issues, ethical questions, economic matters, product liability, and the political milieu. This seminar affords students the opportunity to become directly involved in practical, hands-on, interactive legal exercises including "firm" projects involving court and congressional proceedings.

Health Law Externships