New Certificate Course Offers Students the Chance to Learn about Liability and Regulation in Healthcare

Students interested in understanding professional responsibility and compliance issues for healthcare providers can join faculty member Elizabeth Hall-Lipsy, JD, MPH, in her new class, Liability and Regulation of Healthcare Professionals as part of the Health Law Certificate offered through the PharmD Forward program at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. The class will be delivered over the course of seven weeks using the online platform D2L in order to accommodate current healthcare professionals who are interested in furthering their education as well as current students in health science or law programs. Currently, law students, pharmacy students, practicing doctors and nurses are examples of some of the students enrolled.

The course will utilize a mixture of online discussion boards, topic debates, papers and group assignments, which will cover a variety of areas including licensure requirements, obligation of providers to meet professional standards, medical error and patient safety programs, and professional claims litigation in both civil and administrative settings. In the first week, students will engage in a debate on whether or not there should be national healthcare licensure. In subsequent lessons they’ll listen to podcasts on reporting requirements in regards to elder or vulnerable adult abuse cases, review board hearings from the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy discussing professional discipline options, try their hand at writing expert opinions, and collaborate on developing cross examinations. “I’m really excited about that lesson,” Dr. Hall-Lipsy noted, “I hope that is a practical example of how law and health professionals can collaborate in a non-clinical setting and a way to build bridges between healthcare and law.”

For students working through pre-professional programs, the course will offer them valuable information for navigating the policies that regulate their chosen profession.

“Students who are in programs that prepare them for a specific profession come out of school highly trained, but they can be leery about where the borders are,” Dr. Hall-Lipsy described. “They may not have answers to questions like, ‘What are my obligations to my profession? What are my obligations to my patients? What are the sources of liability for me?’ It’s comforting to take a class like this that will teach you how to understand those processes.”

Dr. Hall-Lipsy also wants students to leave the class with an understanding of how substantive change happens within their profession. For students who believe that policies and regulations can only be enacted at the federal level, she hopes to provide them with examples of how state and local government can be lobbied to address issues. With the ever-changing landscape of law and regulation, she is also looking to guide students towards understanding the resources they have at their disposal.

“The law is something that is always changing, and so a lot of what they’ll be learning is, where do you need to go and look to get this information and how can you become more familiar with your resources.”

Most importantly she hopes the students will take this time to develop what she jokingly calls their professional “Spidey sense”.

“This is the time to build that ‘Spidey sense’ and build that network of people, your squad, so that when you are concerned about a situation that you think may have some liability associated with it, you have a group of friends, mentors and colleagues that you can reach out to. Ethics and practice are team sports, and the real world is an open book exam.”


For more information on the College of Pharmacy’s PharmD Forward program visit us online.