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Reporting And Data

Duty of Mental Health Professionals Concerning Threats (a.k.a. "Duty to Protect" or Tarasoff Provision)

Latest Update: August 11, 2020
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Reporting Information

If a patient communicates an explicit threat of imminent serious physical harm or death to a clearly identified or identifiable person and, in the judgment of the mental health professional, the patient has the intent and ability to carry out the threat, the mental health professional shall apply for the emergency admission of the patient to a mental health facility pursuant to NRS 433A.160 or make a reasonable effort to communicate the threat in a timely manner to the person who is the subject of the threat (and if the person is a minor, to their parent or guardian) and to law enforcement.

Responsible Party

Who Must Report?

For the purpose of this law, a 'mental health professional' includes:
A physician or psychiatrist licensed to practice medicine in Nevada;
A psychologist who is licensed to practice psychology in Nevada;
A social worker who holds a master’s degree in social work; Is licensed as a clinical social worker in Nevada; and is employed by the Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS);
A registered nurse who is licensed to practice professional nursing in Nevada; and holds a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing or a related field;
A marriage and family therapist licensed to practice in Nevada
A clinical professional counselor licensed to practice in Nevada

A person who is working in this State within the scope of his or her employment by the Federal Government, including, without limitation, employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the military or the Indian Health Service, and is:
(1) Licensed or certified as a physician, psychologist, marriage and family therapist, clinical professional counselor, alcohol and drug counselor or clinical alcohol and drug counselor in another state
(2) Licensed as a social worker in another state and holds a master’s degree in social work; or
(3) Licensed to practice professional nursing in another state and holds a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing or a related field.

Deadlines

When Do I Report?

"within a timely manner"

Authority

The legal mandate requiring reporting

NRS 629.550  Duty to apply for emergency admission to mental health facility of patient who communicates certain threats or to make reasonable effort to timely communicate threats to certain persons; civil or criminal liability or disciplinary action.

      1.  If a patient communicates to a mental health professional an explicit threat of imminent serious physical harm or death to a clearly identified or identifiable person and, in the judgment of the mental health professional, the patient has the intent and ability to carry out the threat, the mental health professional shall apply for the emergency admission of the patient to a mental health facility pursuant to NRS 433A.160 or make a reasonable effort to communicate the threat in a timely manner to:

      (a) The person who is the subject of the threat;

      (b) The law enforcement agency with the closest physical location to the residence of the person; and

      (c) If the person is a minor, the parent or guardian of the person.

      2.  A mental health professional shall be deemed to have made a reasonable effort to communicate a threat pursuant to subsection 1 if:

      (a) The mental health professional actually communicates the threat in a timely manner; or

      (b) The mental health professional makes a good faith attempt to communicate the threat in a timely manner and the failure to actually communicate the threat in a timely manner does not result from the negligence or recklessness of the mental health professional.

      3.  A mental health professional who exercises reasonable care in determining that he or she:

      (a) Has a duty to take an action described in subsection 1 is not subject to civil or criminal liability or disciplinary action by a professional licensing board for disclosing confidential or privileged information.

      (b) Does not have a duty to take an action described in subsection 1 is not subject to civil or criminal liability or disciplinary action by a professional licensing board for any damages caused by the actions of a patient.

      4.  The provisions of this section do not:

      (a) Limit or affect the duty of the mental health professional to report child abuse or neglect pursuant to NRS 432B.220 or the commercial sexual exploitation of a child pursuant to NRS 432C.110; or

      (b) Modify any duty of a mental health professional to take precautions to prevent harm by a patient:

             (1) Who is in the custody of a hospital or other facility where the mental health professional is employed; or

             (2) Who is being discharged from such a facility.

      5.  As used in this section, “mental health professional” includes:

      (a) A physician or psychiatrist licensed to practice medicine in this State pursuant to chapter 630 or 633 of NRS;

      (b) A psychologist who is licensed to practice psychology pursuant to chapter 641 of NRS or authorized to practice psychology in this State pursuant to the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact enacted in NRS 641.227;

      (c) A social worker who:

             (1) Holds a master’s degree in social work;

             (2) Is licensed as a clinical social worker pursuant to chapter 641B of NRS; and

             (3) Is employed by the Division of Public and Behavioral Health of the Department of Health and Human Services;

      (d) A registered nurse who:

             (1) Is licensed to practice professional nursing pursuant to chapter 632 of NRS; and

             (2) Holds a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing or a related field;

      (e) A marriage and family therapist licensed pursuant to chapter 641A of NRS;

      (f) A clinical professional counselor licensed pursuant to chapter 641A of NRS; and

      (g) A person who is working in this State within the scope of his or her employment by the Federal Government, including, without limitation, employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the military or the Indian Health Service, and is:

             (1) Licensed or certified as a physician, psychologist, marriage and family therapist, clinical professional counselor, alcohol and drug counselor or clinical alcohol and drug counselor in another state;

             (2) Licensed as a social worker in another state and holds a master’s degree in social work; or

             (3) Licensed to practice professional nursing in another state and holds a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing or a related field.

      (Added to NRS by 2015, 15511817; A 2017, 9112019, 1937)

DISCLAIMER
Although many of these requirements apply to individual medical professionals and other types of hospitals and health care facilities, the information is presented solely to support Critical Access Hospitals. The reporting requirements and legal mandates on this site are not an exhaustive list and Nevada Rural Hospital Partners, Inc. bears no responsibility or liability for any hospitals' or providers' failure to comply with Federal or State laws or regulations.