Health Law Externship Program

So after three semesters of full class schedules, I decided to do something a little bit different. For the second half of my 2L year, I am taking only two law school classes (Corporations and Administrative Law) and I will be spending three days a week working in the Civil Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

This outside-the-tower experience is made possible by the Health Law Externship Program, which will allow me to get law school credit for the work experience.  Although the U.S. Attorney’s Office isn’t necessarily considered a “health law” placement, the professor who organizes the program allowed me to join because of my specific focus: I’m working with attorneys who have health care fraud cases.

I actually worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office over the summer, in the Health Care Fraud Unit – a unit within the criminal division. While there, I learned about the criminal side of health care fraud.

When I went back to school last fall, I took a great seminar class about health care fraud and abuse. Through the class, I started to explore the the civil side – False Claims Act cases – in addition to the criminal. I decided to build on my great summer experience by trying out the civil side at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

I’ve only been there a few days so far, but I’m already working on a civil settlement for a health care fraud matter.The case is not public, so I can’t go into details. But I’m excited that I’m getting a peek at the behind-the-scenes settlement process. After learning about settlements last semester, it’s great to see it happen in real life!

I also have a weekly class with the other Health Law Externship Program students, which I’m especially excited about. I think it will wind up being a great supplement to the externship because we get to discuss current health law issues like informed consent, academic medical research and medical malpractice – aspects of health law that I will not be exposed to at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

I also like that we will be sharing and discussing our own externships. The other students are working in a variety of health care organizations, and, since my own “health law” externship is not really in the health care industry – instead, we prosecute health care players – I think that I’ll benefit from hearing about their experiences.

Through my own work – and vicariously through the other students’ experiences – I look forward to a taste of real life health law!

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