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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)®

Meet the Program Director

Meet Mary Nell Cummings, a seasoned practitioner with 30 years of expertise in FDA and FTC law, and a passion for healthcare compliance. As the director of Pitt Law’s Online Graduate Certificate Program, she shares insights into the program's development and her dedication to guiding students in their careers. Discover her journey, her love for teaching, and her commitment to supporting student success in the field of healthcare compliance.

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Video Transcript

Mary Nell Cummings:
Hi, I am Mary Nell Cummings, and I am the director of Pitt Law’s Online Graduate Certificate Program in Healthcare Compliance. I helped to develop this program and I’m really proud of it, and proud of our graduates.

I’m also proud of our faculty, who are leading health care attorneys and accomplished compliance officers. We are all here for you as you develop in your career.

As for my background, I’ve been practicing law for about 30 years with a focus on FDA and FTC law, and the development, manufacture and marketing of drugs and medical devices. I’ve been teaching at Pitt for about 10 years, and I really enjoy working with students as they develop their understanding of healthcare compliance.

When I’m not teaching, I like to cook (and eat), and to counteract all the eating, I really enjoy hiking, and try to go out every day. I also love to travel, and I’m trying to spend as much time as possible in Portland, Oregon, with my first grandchild—and her parents.

I hope you take a look at the details of our healthcare compliance program on this website. Please know that if you have questions, you can reach out to me at any time. Whatever path you choose, I wish you much success.
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Are you considering a master’s degree in law or a graduate certificate to take your career to the next level? Pitt Law’s Master of Studies in Law online program is designed for professionals seeking to enhance their careers with a versatile alternative to the traditional three-year JD degree. The certificate programs are ideal for those who are not currently looking to pursue a master’s 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
As someone who loves learning, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about health care compliance. Having completed my bachelor’s in science and master’s in business administration with a concentration in healthcare administration, I have aspirations of advancing in hospital leadership. Pursuing the Online Health Care Compliance certificate made sense for my career journey because it equipped me with a broader perspective of what helps to effectively run a hospital, physician office, third-party billing practice, etc., while allowing me the flexibility to complete the assignments on my own schedule.
Lindsey E., HCC Certificate, Fall ‘23

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.

  • Hospitals and Providers
  • Privacy
  • Health Care Quality
  • Risk Assessments
  • Compliance in Research
  • Compliance for Insurers

View the seminar descriptions below.

Hospitals and Providers: This seminar will provide an overview of the compliance function in a hospital as well as in a large provider’s office. It will look at challenges and best practices in implementing and measuring compliance with Medicare conditions of participation and payment, survey and certification requirements, HIPAA, Stark, anti-kickback, professional relations, coding obligations and guidelines, and quality.

Privacy: The focus of this seminar will be the privacy and security provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Environmental and Clinical Health (HITECH). Students will obtain a full understanding of what it means for a health care organization to be HIPAA compliant, how to monitor and measure HIPAA/HITECH compliance, how to develop effective compliance programs, training, risk assessment, and how best to utilize a privacy officer and a privacy and security infrastructure to minimize risk and ensure full HIPAA compliance across a complex organization.

Health Care Quality: Patient quality measures and achievements are growing in importance in the compliance profession. This seminar will provide an overview of the key components of, and importance of quality in the realm of patient safety, while incorporating techniques to continuously improve and transform a healthcare system. We will explore critical healthcare quality issues at the organizational and microsystem levels, and detail current strategies, tactics, and methods for understanding quality. Students will discuss foundational healthcare quality principles, and look at practical tools necessary for measuring quality, improving healthcare performance, and promoting transparency of clinical pathways and outcomes.

Risk Assessments: An effective compliance program is tailored to a company's risk. Compliance risk assessments also serve to protect and defend companies. In fact, a company's approach to compliance risk assessment was identified by the Department of Justice as a foundational consideration when evaluating whether to bring charges against a company. With that in mind, this seminar focuses on practical approaches to conducting a compliance risk assessment in the health care setting. Students will learn how to develop a risk framework, and different approaches to scoring company risk. This will include everything from building a risk register to prioritizing and reporting out on top systematic risk assessment process.

Compliance in Research: This seminar will address the fundamental ethical issues that are the driving force behind research rules and regulations. Students will evaluate how to create effective compliance programs that address issues in basic human subject research, animal research, the responsible use of research results, responsible conduct of research and conflicts of interest.

Compliance for Insurers: This seminar will examine the key compliance issues health insurers face in connection with their business models. Students will examine challenges and best practices in implementing and measuring compliance with the Affordable Care Act and other federal and state requirements, understanding and preparing for government program compliance audits, and other unique obligations of payers in today’s health care environment.

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.

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.

Fall 2024 Admissions Deadlines

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

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