March 07, 2012

New Online Health Care Compliance Certificate to be Offered

Health Care Compliance Certificate at Hamline

Complying with health care laws is an ongoing and increasing challenge for those in the health care field. A glimpse into the national news headlines from the two weeks alone:  “Dozens Accused of $279 Million Medicaid Fraud,” “A $250 Million Fraud Scheme Finds a Path,” and “Feds Dock Beth Israel Hospital $13M for 'Turbocharging' Medicare.”

Understanding and complying with state and federal laws surrounding health care is becoming a growing area of concern for health care organizations and providers, as the government continues to crack down on violations. 

Cases regarding the fraudulent billing of Medicare and Medicaid programs are becoming more prevalent, too, according to Hamline University professor Barbara Colombo, who serves as director of Hamline University School of Law’s Health Care Compliance Certificate program, which is offered through the school’s Health Law Institute.

The certificate program is helping health care professionals, as well as lawyers and administrators to better understand changing regulations and develop strategies to ensure their organizations comply with a complex web of l laws and regulations.  

“For every dollar the federal government spends on fraud prevention, they save approximately seven dollars and twenty cents,” said Colombo.

Not surprisingly, there is increasing interest from health care professionals to learn more about compliance.

“We have one of only five accredited health care compliance programs in country,” Colombo said. “Hamline’s is the only one in the Midwest and only one of two that allows for distance-learning.”

The program is available on campus and online. It is expected to attract two types of students: Hamline law students and other professionals, such as registered nurses, risk managers and those looking to make the move into the health care industry.  Non-lawyers need not worry that the program will be indecipherable.

“Our program is very practical,” Colombo said. “We take a hands-on approach that helps student learn about real-life situations through simulations.”

Health care compliance is about creating incentives for doing the right thing and influencing behavior to ensure that health care organizations and their employees stay out of trouble, Colombo explained. It also ensures patients, especially the most vulnerable, receive high quality care.

“As a graduate of this program, you will have the tools to influence organizational behavior, educate your work force on the complex health care laws and regulations and promote a culture committed to compliance and ethics,” Colombo said.  

For more information on how to register for the program visit Health Care Compliance Certificate program on the Hamline website.