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Exploring Career Paths in Healthcare Compliance Post-MLS

Careers in compliance can mean working in a wide range of fields. Cybersecurity, healthcare, finance, and sports are only a few, but the options are endless. Any organization that safeguards important information must have measures in place to ensure the information is protected and private. Unfortunately, hackers work to infiltrate the company systems and steal this information, exhorting it for their own gain. Compliance careers are therefore crucial for businesses everywhere.

If ensuring that company policies are current with security standards and that their systems are secure appeals to you, a career in compliance is a perfect fit. Enrolling in Seattle University School of Law is a great place to start. Our MLS Program in Compliance and Risk Management with a healthcare compliance concentration increases your specialized knowledge and helps you jump-start or advance your career in the healthcare industry.

Career Paths in Healthcare Compliance

The Places You Can Go

Compliance careers are important for every organization. Even within a specific industry, such as healthcare, there are many career opportunities and paths available. Each day can vary based on many factors, such as:

  • Size of the healthcare organizations: Are you working at a hospital in a major healthcare system? Are you working within a smaller clinic or a private practice? This distinction affects how many people are under patient care and what you need to keep protected. It could also dictate how complex the systems are in which information is stored.
  • Size of the team: If where you’re working is small enough, you might be the only person on the compliance team, or you could be one of many.
  • Type of organization: While the first thought is to go into a healthcare organization, there are plenty of other places in need of healthcare compliance professionals, such as government agencies. We live in a world where not only doctors and hospitals can have your health information, but so can health tracker apps on your phone. Even in the case of sending records through fax or email, those email servers need to be secure enough that they won’t get intercepted.

Let’s discuss five common career options below.

1. Compliance Auditor

Compliance auditors, as could possibly be guessed by the name, are involved at the front of the compliance efforts. They perform internal audits of records, billing, and internal procedures. The auditors review and monitor compliance efforts and interact with agencies, lawyers, organizations, and executive team members to minimize risk and ensure compliance.

2. Compliance Officer

Compliance officers are the leaders of compliance teams and guide their efforts in service of their place of work. Whether it is for a hospital or a care facility, compliance officers ensure that everything is up to governmental standards. This is done by overseeing training, policy development, and decision-making. Compliance officers implement compliance audits and risk assessments. This position can grow to chief compliance officer as the person becomes more experienced and takes on responsibility. U.S. News ranks being a compliance officer as number thirteen in best jobs, giving the position a 4.7 out of five based on factors such as salary, work-life balance, and future growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 4.6% employment growth for compliance officers between 2022 and 2032.

3. Patient Privacy and Protection Specialist

Going into healthcare compliance may be a specialty within the compliance world, but a patient privacy and protection specialist is a further specialization. This specialist is an expert on the biggest regulation that governs healthcare compliance – HIPAA. When it comes to an organization’s compliance effort, these specialists conduct system reviews, investigations, and compliance audits to ensure that personal health information is protected. Medical records, authorization forms, and personal financial and billing records are all examples of information that is under siege. Patient privacy and protection specialists therefore not only specialize in keeping everything secure, but they advocate for the privacy and well-being of all patients. The work is managing the use and storage of private medical information.

4. Quality Improvement and Compliance Manager

Quality improvement and compliance managers are responsible for ensuring that the work is performed in full accordance with contractual, procedural, and regulatory requirements. They may have to prepare and manage investigations, audits, and training materials. They must have a strong commitment to quality assurance, and they may need to help build systems to maintain compliance documentation.

5. Regulatory Compliance Analyst

Regulatory compliance analysts must be detail-oriented and have skills in auditing, critical thinking, problem-solving, and project management. They examine, evaluate, and investigate eligibility for or conformity with laws. The analysts make sure that the regulations governing any healthcare compliance efforts are followed. Regulatory compliance analysts perform other compliance and enforcement inspection and analysis activities. Analysts can be found not only in healthcare organizations but in state and federal governments as well – such as the Department of Health and Human Services.

But Wait, There’s More

While the careers mentioned above are some of the more common options, that list is not exhaustive. As technology expands its reach and events like epidemics (or even pandemics) occur in our lifetime, keeping systems updated and information secure becomes a more extensive task. The Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) did a salary survey that gave a much more extensive career list for those who want to go into healthcare compliance. These positions include:

  • Hospital Revenue Compliance Auditor or Educator
  • Associate Director of Professional Billing and Compliance
  • Internal Controls Analyst
  • Compliance Auditor
  • Audit Manager
  • Market Compliance Officer
  • Compliance Audits and Investigation Director
  • Audits, Monitoring, and Investigations Director
  • Medicare Compliance Officer
  • Compliance Billing Program Manager
  • Billing Compliance Auditor, Director or Manager
  • Nurse Auditor
  • Compliance Coding Specialist
  • Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer
  • Patient Safety Program Manager
  • Compliance Consultant, Director, Manager or Officer

The Health Care Compliance Association even has its own job board to provide a starting point for those looking for employment. 

Seattle University School of Law

If you’re looking for a career in healthcare compliance, look no further. Seattle University School of Law’s MLS degree in compliance and risk management is the stepping stone you need to either begin or enhance your career. Our MLS program is not only a valuable degree, but it is a fully online master’s program. This format allows our students to have some flexibility when it comes to fitting higher education into their lives. The program has both asynchronous and synchronous aspects, with recorded and live sessions. 

Our students get to learn from a faculty composed of experienced legal educators and adjunct faculty drawn from Seattle’s leading businesses. These faculty bring their practical experience into the classroom in such a way that our graduates leave with the ability to navigate the moral, regulatory, and economic frameworks within compliance. If healthcare laws and regulations are in your future, reach out to our admissions office today to get started.

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