Legal and Regulatory Resources
Physicians are affected in their medical practices by a plethora of laws and regulations. Generally copies of federal law and regulations are available from federal agencies responsible for administering those laws and regulations; from subject links provided by national, state, or specialty medical societies; or by searching the web by topic.
This page contains general links to federal and state laws and regulations that may be helpful from time-to-time.
Legislation passed by the US Congress and signed by the President is law and becomes a part of the United States Code. Federal law is formerly cited in two ways: by its public law number as well as by its location in the US Code. By way of example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is cited as PubL No. 104-191 and is found in the US Code at 42 USC 1302d-1329d-8. Searching for federal law can be a frustrating process. Go to http://uscode.house.gov/ to search for a federal law.
Bills introduced into the US Congress are cited as H.R. *** if a House bill and S. *** if a Senate bill. For example, the HEALTH Act of 2005, federal medical liability reform legislation, is H.R. 534 on the House side and S.354 on the Senate side. Go to http://thomas.loc.gov/ to search for congressional legislation.
Regulations adopted by a federal agency and binding upon those persons regulated by that agency are cited for their location in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). For instance, the HIPAA Privacy Rule is cited as 45 CFR Parts 160, 164. Go to http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html to search the CFR for a federal regulation.
Proposed Federal Regulation
Before an agency can finally adopt a regulation, it must give the public notice and, except in narrow circumstances, must provide the public the opportunity to comment. The Federal Register, published each weekday except holidays, is the key resource for information about proposed regulations of federal agencies. Regulations finally adopted by an agency also are published in the Federal Register along with the agency's response to public comments received on the proposed rules. Go to http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html to search the Federal Register.
Legislation passed by the Iowa General Assembly and signed by the Governor is found in the Iowa Code. Iowa law is cited by reference to either the chapter or section of the Iowa Code. For example, Iowa's law on communicable and infectious diseases is found in Iowa Code chapter 139A; the specific provision on required reporting of communicable and infectious diseases is found at Iowa Code section 139A.3. Go to http://www.legis.state.ia.us/, click on "Iowa Law," then click on "2005 Iowa Code."
Bills introduced into the Iowa General Assembly are cited as SF ** for Senate Files and HF ** for House Files. A proposed bill may be introduced first in study form in which case it will be cited as SSB ** for Senate study bills and HSB ** for House study bills. Go to http://www.legis.state.ia.us/ and click on "Track Legislation.
The Legislative Information Office (LIO) also is a resource for the Iowa public regarding legislation; call (515) 281-5129 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also consult the IMS Advocate or contact at IMS.
Rules adopted by a state agency and binding upon those persons regulated by that agency are cited for their location in the Iowa Administrative Code (IAC or Ia. Admin. Code). For instance, rules of the Iowa Department of Public Health on required reporting of communicable and infectious diseases are found at Ia. Admin. Code chapter 641-1; the specific rule for reporting carbon monoxide poisoning is Ia. Admin. Code 641-1.3(1)(j).
Go to http://www.legis.state.ia.us/, click on "Iowa law," then click on "Iowa Administrative Code."
Please note: the rules of a state agency usually also can be found through links on that state agency's web site.
Proposed Iowa Regulation
Before a state agency can finally adopt a rule, it must give the public notice of its proposed rule and, except in narrow circumstances, must provide the public an opportunity to comment. Proposed rules, as well as rules finally adopted by a state agency, are published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin. Proposed and final rules are referenced in the Bulletin by "ARC" number to assist the Administrative Rules Committee, a committee of the Iowa Legislature, in its review of agency rulemaking.
Go to http://www.legis.state.ia.us/, click on "Iowa Law," then click on "Iowa Administrative Bulletin."
Please note: Proposed rules often can be found through links on a state agency's web site.
Iowa Attorney General Opinions
The Office of the Iowa Attorney General issues formal and informal opinions on matters of law and regulation. Opinions of the Attorney General are not legally binding; however, they provide legal direction to state agencies, the Iowa General Assembly, the Governor, county bodies such as boards of supervisors, boards of health, or county public hospitals; and others. As such, opinions of the Attorney General, particularly formal opinions, are taken seriously. Only certain persons, such as state legislators, heads of state agencies, or county attorneys, can request an opinion from the Attorney General. Go to http://www.iowa.gov/government/ag/represent_state.gov/opinions.html.