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Health Care Compliance Certificate Program

The Health Care Compliance (HCC) Certificate program teaches you the relevant law and practical applications of compliance. Gain knowledge of best practices through exploration of current issues, and learn from Pitt Law’s expert faculty, including professors of the School of Law and Graduate School of Public Health, current and former federal regulators, and compliance-industry experts.

The HCC Certificate program is:

  • Comprehensive—A full 15-credit stand-alone graduate certificate designed specifically for compliance professionals. Each course was built by experts in compliance and online education specifically for this program to deliver the learning and skills our students need to succeed in their compliance careers.
  • Convenient—Complete the program in 10 months! Learn on your schedule with asynchronous classes. The program is offered entirely online, so weekly coursework can be done when it is most convenient for working professionals
  • Accelerated—Each full 3-credit graduate course is only eight weeks long - so students complete the program quickly even though they only take one course at a time.
  • Expert-led—Learn from experienced, working legal experts who teach courses and concepts applicable to real-world challenges. Gain access to a valued and diverse network of colleagues and mentors within the Pitt Law and broader Pitt communities. Our Compliance faculty members are professors from Pitt Law and Pitt Graduate School of Public Health, current and former federal regulators, leading health care attorneys, and accomplished compliance officers.

This program is accredited by the Compliance Certification Board (CCB)®. That means that, with your Health Care Compliance Certificate in hand, you will be eligible to take the Certified in Health Care Compliance Exam (CHC®) and sit for the CCEP®, CCEP-I®, CHRC®, and/or CHPC® exams, giving you a valuable opportunity to advance your career.

You can learn more about the Certified in Health Care Compliance (CHC) Exam, download the CHC handbook, and find a detailed exam content outline here.


Earn Industry Certifications

Graduates of the Health Care Compliance Certificate who have fulfilled the applicable requirements are eligible within one year of earning the certificate to sit for industry exams, including:

  • Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC)®
  • Certified in Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC)®
  • Certified in Healthcare Privacy Compliance (CHPC)®

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Program Brochure

Find the online program that fits your needs. Our Online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program is designed for professionals seeking to enhance their careers through a legal education with a versatile alternative to the traditional three-year JD degree. Our graduate certificates can further your expertise within a specific area of the law in 10 months. Students who complete a certificate program have the option of applying those 15 course credits toward the Online MSL degree.

Complete the form to get a program brochure for Pitt Law’s Online MSL plus your chosen specialization, or your chosen certificate program, delivered to your inbox.

Objectives of the Health Care Compliance Certificate Program

consulting health care compliance

Through the coursework in the HCC program, students will:

  • Understand the laws that shape the health care industry in general, and compliance in particular
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the regulatory context of compliance
  • Develop the skills and knowledge necessary to identify compliance issues, guide change, and navigate complexity while supporting an ethical culture
  • Be able to identify best practices in compliance management
  • Grow critical thinking and problem-solving skills in a compliance context
  • Acquire the knowledge and skills to manage conflict
  • Improve communication and presentation skills
  • Participate in peer-to-peer learning that will facilitate networking opportunities

Pitt Law's HCC Certificate Program Students

The Health Care Compliance Certificate is designed for:

  • Compliance professionals who wish to enhance their understanding and professional development
  • Health care professionals who routinely engage with compliance regulations
  • Health care industry administrators and leaders
  • Career changers looking to increase their credibility in regulated health care spaces
  • Attorneys who want to acquire an appreciation of the compliance industry, client needs and issues

The past cohorts of Pitt Law’s HCC Certificate program have been made up of a diverse array of professionals in direct health care positions and in adjacent roles, including compliance managers and directors, therapists, social workers, nurses, and doctors. Cohorts have also included several several senior administrators, business leaders and many life science research professionals. IT professionals and several attorneys have sought their certificates in this area, as well.

Here is a sampling of the titles HCC students hold:

  • Compliance and risk management fellow
  • Corporate contracts specialist
  • Practice manager
  • Licensed clinical social worker
  • Business analyst for Medicaid programs
  • Compliance analyst
  • Licensed therapist
  • Senior research technician
  • Database and compliance manager
  • Paralegal
  • Director of learning and engagement
  • Health care IT compliance analyst/administrator
  • Clinical fraud, waste and abuse auditor
  • Medical receptionist
  • Senior claims examiner
  • Clinical corporate contracts officer

Health Care Compliance (15 credits)

Introduction to the Legal System for Health Care and Compliance (3 credits)

Course Description
Good compliance decision-making depends on a clear understanding of the legal framework that regulates the health care industry. This course will explore aspects of tort, contract, corporate, and administrative law against a backdrop of the business of health care and compliance needs. For example, students will learn fundamental tort concepts while discussing malpractice issues and will learn basic concepts of corporate law while examining shifting alliances in the health care market. Students will also gain an understanding of administrative law by examining the authority of federal regulators and their influence on how health care is delivered.

Legal Aspects of Health Care Compliance (3 credits)

Course Description
This course will examine the substantive law that generates most compliance risk issues against a backdrop of recent enforcement actions. It will cover the compliance program elements, fraud and abuse laws (the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark), conditions of participation, coding and billing, documentation, medical necessity, cost reports, internal investigations, the attorney-client privilege, CMS/State Medicaid contractors, HIPAA/HITECH privacy and security, and OIG guidance.

Effective Compliance Program Development and Skills (3 credits)

Course Description
This course focuses on the fundamentals required to develop and maintain an effective compliance program. Students will study the seven elements of a successful compliance program in practical detail and will learn best practices for compliance programs. Specifically, this will include learning how best to design and implement compliance oversight and committees, practicing policy drafting, and exploring the most effective ways to educate and train on compliance. This will also include developing an excellent understanding of audit, investigation, and corrective action skills and strategies.

Professional Judgment and Ethics, the Canvas of Compliance (3 credits)

Course Description
Health care organizations can face a broad array of ethical issues and often the chief compliance officer is called on to publicize and monitor the organization’s code of ethics, vision, and values, as well as oversee the training of employees. In health care compliance, ethical issues can be especially challenging. Health care organizations are also businesses and the tension between business decisions and health decisions creates many of the topics we will discuss in this ethics course. This course will cover organizational ethics, mission and values, professional judgment, core values and managing conflict, and health care ethics and business decisions.

Selected Applications in Compliance (3 credits)

Course Description
Students will self-select their areas of study in this course and will choose three subject matter Seminars. In addition, each student will work individually with their instructor to complete a capstone paper in their area of professional interest.

HCC Certificate Course Spotlight

Legal Aspects of Health Care Compliance

This course will address the importance of corporate compliance for health care organizations and provide an overview of the legal landscape regarding health care compliance. As one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States, health care entities are required to comply with numerous statutes and regulations at the federal and state level. These laws are increasingly complex, thereby exposing health care entities to liability for non-compliance. Individuals involved in the administration and delivery of health care must be well-versed in the laws and regulations that govern health care compliance, as well as the strategies health care entities employ to address these compliance concerns. Moreover, they must be prepared for internal and external audits, investigations and disclosures.

Through lecture and class discussion, students will explore specific issues facing the health care industry, including fraud and abuse concerns (Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law, False Claims Act, and Civil Monetary Penalties); conflicts of interest and governance; privacy, data, and security. Students will also gain an understanding of: key federal health care programs; the evolution of compliance programs; the seven elements of effective compliance programs; significant compliance risk areas for various health care entities; corporate integrity agreements (CIAs) and certificate of compliance agreements (CCAs); internal and external audits and investigations, including working with legal counsel; and self-disclosure protocols.

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Describe the role of regulation in the health care industry and the importance of compliance to health care entities.
  • Discuss the laws and regulations applicable to health care entities regarding health care compliance.
  • Identify the elements necessary for an effective compliance plan.
  • Identify and analyze the risk areas specific to different health care entities.
  • Apply current compliance laws and regulations in various health care settings.
Mary Nell Cummings
Meet ​​HCC Online Program Director Mary Nell Cummings
As the Director for the Graduate Certificate Program in Health Care Compliance, Mary Nell Cummings brings significant experience to Pitt Law. Professor Cummings is the principal of the Cummings Law Practice and has over 20 years of experience in healthcare marketing law. As a former litigator at K&L Gates and Assistant General Counsel at GlaxoSmithKline, Professor Cummings guides businesses on a variety of issues concerning social media, public relations strategies, privacy, claim support, clinical issues, regulatory compliance, data use, and contracts related to the development, approval, manufacture and marketing of drugs and medical devices.

Professor Cummings teaches a Life Science Compliance seminar and Introduction to the Legal System for Health Care and Compliance. She treats students like colleagues and works to create an engaging experience to form strong connections, especially in the online format.

Earning Your Health Care Compliance Certificate is Just the Beginning

With your Health Care Compliance Certificate in hand, you may be eligible to sit for the CCEP, CCEP-I, CHC, CHRC, and/or CHPC exams, giving you a valuable opportunity to advance your career.

Certificate students who successfully complete a graduate certificate program with a 3.0 GPA have the option to pursue the Master of Studies in Law degree at Pitt Law.

Pitt Law opens doors for you. Start your journey today.

Spring 2024 Admissions Deadlines

Priority Deadline
December 22, 2023
Spring 2024
Final Deadline
January 8, 2024
Spring 2024
Start Date
January 16, 2024
Spring 2024

Fall 2024 Admissions Deadlines

Priority Deadline
August 2, 2024
Fall 2024
Final Deadline
August 12, 2024
Fall 2024
Start Date
August 19, 2024
Fall 2024

University of Pittsburgh has engaged Everspring, a leading provider of education and technology services, to support select aspects of program delivery.