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Healthcare Paralegal Certificate

Program Description

Fueled by an aging population and implementation of new models of healthcare delivery and payment systems, the healthcare industry is trending upwards. Given the dramatic growth in the healthcare industry, and the unprecedented scope and complexity of legal and regulatory compliance requirements comes a demand for healthcare paralegals.

Many people in the healthcare industry aim to broaden their skill set.  This certificate is designed for graduates of the Health Sciences field, such as Physician Assistant, Occupational Therapy and Radiography, Pharmacy, etc.

The curriculum is structured to provide you with an introduction to the legal system and the role of the paralegal, along with an emphasis in legal research, writing and ethics. Additional courses expose you to specific practice areas where medical knowledge is particularly appropriate. Paralegals operate under the supervision of a licensed attorney and are prohibited from practicing law.

This certificate will permit you the opportunity to obtain an understanding of the history and nuances of various areas of law, as well as learn the practical application in each area. The program empathizes analytical and conceptual thinking, legal research and writing, and the evolutions of various legal theories, substantive areas of law and the role of law in society.

Program Objectives

  • To teach you substantive and procedural law, with the objective of preparing you to complete any paralegal assignment in a competent, professional, and ethical manner.
  • To develop your legal writing skills by exercising critical thinking skills and analytical skills.
  • To give you an understanding of legal research and to develop your ability to locate answers to legal questions.
  • To ensure that you have up-to-date skills in technology, including the use of computers for data and word processing, and legal research.
  • Through practical application, to improve your ability to work cooperatively with others; develop leadership skills and the ability to assume responsibility; and to improve the your ability to follow directions.
  • To maintain good communications with private and public legal services providers to ensure that the paralegal program stays abreast of changes in the legal field in order to provide meaningful and current paralegal training to our students.
  • To maintain good relations with national, state, and local bars and paralegal associations and to work collaboratively with these groups to improve and increase the utilization of paralegal services.

Curriculum

Curriculum

Required Courses

PLS 100 Introduction To Law
PLS 235 Torts
or    
PLS 250 Worker's Compensation
and    
PLS 236 Medical and Legal Malpractice
PLS 210 Legal Research & Writing I
PLS 211 Legal Research & Writing II
PLS 310 Litigation I
PLS 311 Litigation II
SHS 413 Moral and Ethical Issues in Health Care
SHS 415 Health Care Administration I
SHS 416 Health Care Administration II

ajor Electives

N/A

CORE Curriculum

N/A

Total Credits required to graduate

30

Course Descriptions

PLS 100 – Introduction to Law and Legal Studies
Introduction to the law and the American legal system. Includes an introduction to legal research, legal writing and analysis, communication skills, law office administration, and legal and professional ethics. Basic concepts of substantive and procedural law, legal terminology, the functions of the courts and the role of attorneys, paralegals and other legal professional, will be stressed. (3 credits) Fall

PLS 210 – Legal Research & Writing
Prerequisites: Successful completion (C- or higher) of Expository Writing Integrates the “how to” procedural aspects of legal research with the bibliographic knowledge necessary for effective research. Introduction includes: use of all primary legal sources, including cases, constitutions and statutes, and administrative rules and regulations, as well as texts and treatises, encyclopedias, law journals, and other secondary sources; “hands-on” use of electronic means of research such as CD-ROM and online database searching (Westlaw); analysis of legal problems and formulation of appropriate research procedures to determine the applicable law. The writing component stresses basic written communication skills as applied to common legal documents such as opinion letters and memoranda. (3 credits) Fall

PLS 211 – Legal Research & Writing II
Prerequisite: PLS 210 Builds upon the basic skills taught in Legal Research & Writing I. Involves students in individualized projects requiring research in multiple sources and use of various writing modes. Explores “non-library research” through government agencies, court personnel, and peer networking; specialized research tools available in particular subject areas in which paralegals are frequently involved; research into legislative history; techniques for searching and updating complex government regulations, both federal and state; and introduction into searching foreign law. (3 credits) Spring (Evenings only)

PLS 310 – Litigation I 
Prerequisite: PLS 210 Study of state and federal courts, and the civil litigation process including:, preparation of case before trial, interviewing prospective witnesses, interviewing expert witnesses, preparation of pleadings, pretrial discovery, trial proofs, and actual courtroom experience observing trials. (3 credits) Fall

PLS 311 – Litigation I
Prerequisite: PLS 310 Building on the principles covered in Litigation I, students develop practical skills in drafting pleadings, discovery, documents, motions, jury instructions, trial notebooks, and post-trial and appeals memoranda. The role of the paralegal in assisting attorneys during settlement, trial or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods is stressed. (3 credits) Spring (Evenings only)

SHS 413 – Moral and Ethical Issues in Health Care
Introduces students, currently employed (or intending to be employed) in the health care field, to the moral/ethical issues and dilemmas facing the healthcare industry/employee(s) today and into the future. A sampling of selected topics that will be discussed and researched include: informed consent, euthanasia, rationing of health care services, advance directives, biomedical research, heroic measures, the uninsured and underinsured. (3 credits) Spring, Summer

SHS 415 – Health Care Administration I
Provides the foundation for health care management in an era of health care reform. The issues relate to the overview of emerging trends in the health systems, human resources, leadership, communication, decision making, marketing, quality assurance and financial management. This course is intended for the individual currently employed or interested in the health care field and functioning in the management system. (3 credits) Spring, Summer

SHS 416 – Health Care Administration II
Builds upon the foundation provided in the Health Care Administration I course. Through discussion, readings, and two assigned written projects, the students cover topics inclusive of: an overview of the healthcare delivery system in the U.S., economics of health care, labor relations, legal issues, health planning, healthcare reform, and ethical issues in health care. (3 credits) Fall

Outcomes

  • Provide you with knowledge of ethics and professional responsibility to enable you to recognize these values and perform legal services in an ethical manner.
  • Provide you with tools to develop critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Develop the ability to communicate effectively through training in legal research, writing, listening and speaking skills.

Faculty