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Health Law Research Guide: Getting Started

This guide will help you find primary federal and Illinois health law, supporting information, and discourse related to health law.

How to Begin Your Research

   Health law in the United States is made by statutes, regulations, executive orders, and case law -- at the federal level, and in all 50 states. Federal and state administrative agencies play a large role in the development and delivery of health care services. Challenges to health laws can invoke federal or state constitutions, statutes and regulations, and common law. Researching foreign and international health law involves additional legal sources. 

  Navigating the range and complexity of health law can be challenging for any researcher.  It may be helpful to begin with secondary sources, which provide background information and ultimately guide you to the most relevant statutes, regulations and cases.

  Some health law treatises and study aids available at Loyola are listed below. Please consult the tabs along the top of this guide to locate law journals, books, databases and other materials available in the library (or via electronic subscription accessible by law students and faculty). Useful information about health law is also freely available on the Internet. Check the Web Resources tab for a listing of free websites.  International health law coverage in this guide will be found mainly under the Books and Journals tabs, and in some databases.


Access to some electronic databases is limited to users who have a valid Loyola ID and password; access to other resources may be restricted to the law school community only.

Treatises, Study Aids & Practice Guides

Researching Primary Law

  There are links on this page to some sources of U.S. health law in federal statutes, and a link to the United States Code of Federal Regulations. In the right column, there is a selection of Illinois statutes related to health care and a link to Illinois administrative regulations.

   Some federal and Illinois state agencies responsible for the administration of health care are linked at the bottom of this page. The appropriate state or federal agency can be a very good place to begin researching a health law issue. Links to relevant statutes, administrative rules, and agency decisions often can be found on agency websites, as well as information about what the agency does.

Federal Statutes

Several federal health statutes are listed here, with links to the official United States Code on, or to Cornell's Legal Information Institute ( an unofficial sources which may be more current and easier to use. Remember to update statutory research, in the event amendments may have been enacted since the latest version of the source linked here.

Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the permanent regulations published in the Federal Register by executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The CFR is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. CFR titles related to health generally correspond to federal statutory titles, e.g.: 42, 29, 21. 
If you are unsure of what federal regulations you may need to consult, you can use a subject index to the CFR, or a citator for statutes or cases you may be examining. Electronic databases and the finding aids index for the CFR in print have tables that cross-reference U.S. Code sections with applicable sections in the CFR.

Federal Agencies

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the principal federal agency for protecting the health of Americans. It is comprised of the Office of the Secretary and 11 sub-agencies. HHS oversees a wide variety of tasks and services, including research, public health, food and drug safety, grants and other funding, health insurance, and many others.

A full list of the agencies within HHS, and other federal agencies involved with health law, can be found in the Government Websites drop down window, under the Web Resources tab.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on June 28, 2012. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, upholding the health care mandate, 5-4. The Medicaid expansion requirement was reversed, 7-2. National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (June 28, 2012), Docket No. 11-393, 132 S.Ct. 2566, 183 L.Ed.2d 450, 80 USLW 4579.

Federal Health Care Legislation

Federal health care legislation was signed into law in March, 2010.  Please check the "Books" tab in this guide for a selection of titles about the Affordable Care Act.  You will also find more titles by searching the library's online catalog.

Subject Guide

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Joe Mitzenmacher
Reference & Electronic Services Librarian
Philip H. Corboy Law Center
25 E. Pearson St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Illinois Statutes

Some significant Illinois health laws are listed here. Citations are to the Illinois Compiled Statutes, linked at the Illinois General Assembly website.

Illinois Regulations

The Illinois Administrative Code is freely available online from the Illinois General Assembly's Web siteTitle 59 (Mental Health) and Title 77 (Public Health) are two significant sources of state health regulations. An annotated version of the Illinois statutes will refer you to corresponding Illinois regulations. Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Bloomberg Law, and Fastcase also provide access to the Illinois Administrative Code.

Updates to the Code are first published in the Illinois Register, which is printed every week and is also available online.