170. Nevada State Laws for Human Research

Updated July 1, 2019

Research involving human subjects is subject to federal regulations and guidance documents; state laws; the University of Nevada, Reno Administrative Manual; and the IRB Policy Manual. The purpose of this policy is to provide information about laws in Nevada that apply to human research.

The information in this policy was obtained or summarized from the Nevada Revised Statutes available from the Nevada Law Library . Refer to the source documents for more information about a specific statute.

University and affiliate PIs who are uncertain about laws that may apply to a research project are advised to contact RI or General Counsel for the University or the affiliate site.
Chapter 129 - Minors' Disabilities; Judicial Emancipation of Minors

NRS 129.010 Age of majority.

All persons of the age of 18 years who are under no legal disability and all persons who have been declared emancipated are capable of entering into any contract, and are, to all intents and purposes, held and considered to be of lawful age.
NRS 129.080 and 129.130 Emancipated minor.

Any minor who is at least 16 years of age, who is married or living apart from his or her parents or legal guardian, and who is a resident of the county, and has petitioned the court of that county for a decree of emancipation; and the court determines that the petition should be granted and enters a decree of emancipation for the petitioner.

Chapter 159 - Guardianships

NRS 159.017 "Guardian" defined.

"Guardian" means any person appointed under this chapter as guardian of the person, of the estate, or of the person and estate for any other person. The term includes, without limitation, a special guardian or, if the context so requires, a person appointed in another state who serves in the same capacity as a guardian in this State.

NRS 159.019 "Incompetent" defined.

"Incompetent" means an adult person who, by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, disease, weakness of mind or any other cause, is unable, without assistance, properly to manage and take care of himself or herself or his or her property, or both. The term includes a person who is mentally incapacitated.
NRS 159.022 "Limited capacity" defined.

A person is of "limited capacity" if:
1.      The person is able to make independently some but not all of the decisions necessary for the person's own care and the management of the person's property; and
2.      The person is not a minor.

NRS 159.023 "Minor" defined.

"Minor" means any person who is:
1.      Less than 18 years of age; or
2.      Less than 19 years of age if the guardianship is continued until the person reaches the age of 19 years pursuant to NRS 159.191.

NRS 159.026 "Special guardian" defined.

"Special guardian" means a guardian of a person of limited capacity, including, without limitation, such a guardian who is appointed because a person of limited capacity has voluntarily petitioned for the appointment and the court has determined that the person has the requisite capacity to make such a petition.

NRS 159.027 "Ward" defined.

"Ward" means any person for whom a guardian has been appointed.

NRS 159.0805 Approval of court required before guardian may consent to certain treatment of or experiment on ward; conditions for approval. (Note: Content provided in full.)

1.      Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, a guardian shall not consent to:

a.  The experimental medical, biomedical or behavioral treatment of a ward;
b.  The sterilization of a ward; or
c.  The participation of a ward in any biomedical or behavioral experiment.

2.      The guardian may consent to and commence any treatment or experiment described in subsection 1 if the guardian applies to and obtains from the court authority to consent to and commence the treatment or experiment.
3.      The court may authorize the guardian to consent to and commence any treatment or experiment described in subsection 1 only if the treatment or experiment:
4.      Is of direct benefit to, and intended to preserve the life of or prevent serious impairment to the mental or physical health of, the ward; or
5.      Is intended to assist the ward to develop or regain the ward's abilities.

Chapter 162A - Power Of Attorney for Financial Matters and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions

NRS 162A.850 Agents: Prohibited acts; decisions concerning use or nonuse of life-sustaining treatment. (Note: Content provided in full.)

1.      The agent may not consent to:

a.  Commitment or placement of the principal in a facility for treatment of mental illness;
b.  Convulsive treatment;
c.  Psychosurgery;
d.  Sterilization;
e.  Abortion;
f.  Aversive intervention, as that term is defined in NRS 449.766;
g.  Experimental medical, biomedical or behavioral treatment, or participation in any medical, biomedical or behavioral research program; or
g.  Any other treatment to which the principal, in the power of attorney for health care, states that the agent may not consent.

2. The agent must make decisions concerning the use or nonuse of life-sustaining treatment which conform to the known desires of the principal. The principal may make these desires known in the power of attorney for health care.

Chapter 179a - Records of Criminal History and Information Relating to Public Safety

NRS 179A.090 Prerequisite to dissemination of records; exceptions.

Relates to the release, for the express purpose of research, records of criminal history which include information about a felony or a gross misdemeanor.

Chapter 200 - Crimes Against the Person

NRS 200.5093 Report of abuse, neglect, exploitation or isolation of older person; voluntary and mandatory reports; investigation; penalty.

Specifies the requirements for reporting the abuse, neglect, exploitation or isolation of an older person.

NRS 200.50935 Report of abuse, neglect, exploitation or isolation of vulnerable person; voluntary and mandatory reports; investigation; penalty.

Specifies the requirements for reporting the abuse, neglect, exploitation or isolation of a vulnerable person.

Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation or Isolation of Older Persons and Vulnerable Persons

NRS 200.5095 Reports and records confidential; permissible or required disclosure; penalty.

Specifies requirements for the release, to persons engaged in bona fide research, of data or information concerning the reports and investigation of the abuse, neglect, exploitation or isolation of older or vulnerable persons.

Chapter 386 - Local Administrative Organization Automated System of Accountability Information for Nevada

NRS 386.650 Adoption and maintenance of system; adoption of uniform program for school districts to collect, maintain and transfer data to system; duties of Superintendent of Public Instruction; access to data within system

Describes options for the NV State Department of Education to enter into an agreement with the Nevada System of Higher Education to provide access to data contained within the automated system for research purposes (to the extent authorized by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, and any regulations adopted pursuant).

Chapter 396 - Nevada System of Higher Education

Programs of Instruction, Research and Clinical Services

NRS 396.521 Genetics program: Establishment.

1.      The Board of Regents, in cooperation with the Health Division of the Department of Health and Human Services, may establish a genetics program to provide clinical genetic and diagnostic services to residents of Nevada who have or may have a hereditary, chromosomal or multifactorial disorder.

2.      The University of Nevada School of Medicine must provide consultation and other appropriate services to the genetics program.

NRS 396.523 Genetics program: Provision of services.

Identifies services the UNR Med genetics program must provide, including maintenance of a registry for research and evaluation.

NRS 396.525 Genetics program: Confidentiality of records and information; exceptions.

Describes confidentiality requirements for the records of clients and families of clients of the genetics program and sharing of these records between UNR Med and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Health Division.

NRS 396.535 Form required for informed consent of students concerning release or disclosure of personally identifiable information.

Describes process by which University students are given "a reasonable opportunity" to specify the conditions for the authorized release or disclosure of their personally identifiable information for commercial, noncommercial, and both commercial and noncommercial uses.

Chapter 432b - Protection of Children from Abuse and Neglect Reports of Abuse or Neglect; Reports of Prenatal Illegal Substance Abuse

NRS 432B.040 "Child" defined.

"Child" means a person under the age of 18 years.

NRS 432B.220 Persons required to make report; when and to whom reports are required; any person may make report; report and written findings if reasonable cause to believe death of child caused by abuse or neglect.

Specifies the requirements for reporting the abuse or neglect of a child.

NRS 432B.290 Authorized release of data or information concerning reports and investigations; penalty; regulations.

Specifies requirements for the release, to persons engaged in bona fide research, of data or information concerning the reports and investigation of the abuse or neglect of a child.

Chapter 440 - Vital Statistics

NRS 440.170 Records open to inspection; use of data restricted.

Specifies requirements for the use of data contained in vital statistics for research purposes.

Chapter 441A - Infectious Diseases; Toxic Agents

NRS 441A.150 Reporting occurrences of communicable diseases to health authority.

Specifies requirements for health care providers, and medical facilities, and laboratories for reporting that another person has a communicable disease.

NRS 441A.220 Confidentiality of information; permissible disclosure.

Specifies confidentiality requirements and exceptions thereof for information of a personal nature related to a communicable diseases.

NRS 441A.230 Disclosure of personal information prohibited without consent.

Specifies consent requirements for the release of information of a personal nature related to a communicable diseases.

Services Concerning Human Immunodeficiency Virus

NRS 441A.335 Declaration of legislative intent.

Specifies allowable purposes and uses of information pertaining to cases of the human immunodeficiency virus.

Chapter 442 - Maternal and Child Health; Abortion

NRS 442.320 Statewide system for collection and analysis of information: Establishment and maintenance; regulations. (Note: Content provided in full.)

1.      The Health Division, in cooperation with the University of Nevada School of Medicine, shall establish and maintain a statewide system for the collection and analysis of information concerning birth defects and other adverse birth outcomes.
2.      The State Board of Health shall adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of NRS 442.300 to 442.330, inclusive. The regulations must:

a.  Establish a procedure to inform a patient that the patient's name will be used for research and referrals to related services unless the patient requests the exclusion of his or her name from the system; and
b.  Require the exclusion from the system of the name of a patient if the patient or, if the patient is a minor, a parent or legal guardian of the patient has requested in writing to exclude the name of the patient from the system.

3.      The provisions of NRS 442.300 to 442.330, inclusive, do not authorize any prenatal genetic testing of children.

Chapter 449 - Medical and Other Related Facilities

Patient's Rights

NRS 449.720 Specific rights: Care; refusal of treatment and experimentation; privacy; notice of appointments and need for care; confidentiality of information concerning patient.

Describes the rights of all patients of a medical facility, facility for the dependent, or home for individual residential care including the rights to refuse to participate in any medical experiments conducted at the facility, retain his or her privacy concerning the patient's program of medical care, have all communications and records kept confidential, and consent to the presence of any person who is not directly involved with the patient's care during, any examination, consultation or treatment.

Chapter 453 - Controlled Substances

NRS 453.151 Cooperative arrangements; confidentiality of information.

Part 1(c): For research involving the use and effects of controlled substances, relates to restrictions on the requirements for releasing the names or identities of patients or research subjects.

NRS 453.155 Programs for Research and Education

Parts 2, 3, and 4: Identifies the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy as the regulatory authority in Nevada for research involving on the use and effects of controlled substances, and addresses the types of research that may be conducted. Acknowledges the Board may authorize persons engaged in such research to withhold participants' names from compelled disclosure and may authorize the possession and distribution of controlled substances by persons engaged in research. 

Chapter 454 - Poisons; Dangerous Drugs and Hypodermics

NRS 454.351 Drugs which may not be introduced into interstate commerce; penalty; exemptions.

Relates to specifications for the procurement, possession, production and manufacturing, selling and out-of-state transportation of drugs, including experimental drugs.

Chapter 457 - Cancer

NRS 457.260 Publication of reports; provision of data.

Specifies the conditions under which the Health Division may provide researchers with data about cancer cases in Nevada.

NRS 457.265 Analysis of information, records and reports; investigation of trends.

Specifies the consent requirements for agencies/entities to assess trends among reported cancer cases.

Chapter 458 - Abuse of Alcohol and Drugs

NRS 458.280 Records of facility for treatment confidential; exceptions.

Specifies confidentiality and consent requirements and exceptions thereof for the release of identifiable information and other records from a treatment facility.

Chapter 629 - Healing Arts Generally

NRS 629.141 Right to inspect or obtain.

A person who takes a genetic test may inspect or obtain any genetic information included in the records of the test.

NRS 629.151 Obtaining genetic information of person without consent unlawful; exceptions.

States exceptions to when it is unlawful to obtain any genetic information of a person without first obtaining the informed consent of the person or the person's legal guardian. Exceptions include use in a study where the identities of the persons from whom the genetic information is obtained are not disclosed to the person conducting the study;

NRS 629.161 Retention of genetic information of person without consent unlawful; exceptions; destruction of genetic information.

States exceptions to when it is unlawful to retain genetic information that identifies a person without first obtaining the informed consent of the person or the person's legal guardian. Exceptions include where the person whose genetic information is used in a study authorizes the person who conducts the study to retain that genetic information after the study is completed or upon his or her withdrawal from the study.

Chapter 641 - Psychologists, Licensed Behavior Analysts, Licensed Assistant Behavior Analysts and Certified Autism Behavior Interventionists

NRS 641.390 Representation or practice as psychologist without license prohibited; exceptions. (Note: Content provided in full.)

1.      A person shall not represent himself or herself as a psychologist within the meaning of this chapter or engage in the practice of psychology unless he or she is licensed under the provisions of this chapter, except that any psychological scientist employed by an accredited educational institution or public agency which has set explicit standards may represent himself or herself by the title conferred upon him or her by such institution or agency.

2.      This section does not grant approval for any person to offer services as a psychologist to any other person as a consultant, and to accept remuneration for such psychological services, other than that of an institutional salary, unless the psychologist has been licensed under the provisions of this chapter.

3.      This chapter does not prevent the teaching of psychology or psychological research, unless the teaching or research involves the delivery or supervision of direct psychological services to a person. Persons who have earned a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited educational institution may use the title "psychologist" in conjunction with the activities permitted by this subsection.

4.      A graduate student in psychology whose activities are part of the course of study for a graduate degree in psychology at an accredited educational institution or a person pursuing postdoctoral training or experience in psychology to fulfill the requirements for licensure under the provisions of this chapter may use the terms "psychological trainee," "psychological intern," "psychological resident" or "psychological assistant" if the activities are performed under the supervision of a licensed psychologist in accordance with the regulations adopted by the Board.

5.      A person who is certified as a school psychologist by the State Board of Education may use the title "school psychologist" or "certified school psychologist" in connection with activities relating to school psychologists.

Chapter 641B - Social Workers

NRS 641B.030 Definitions.

Defines clinical social work to include research to help in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional conditions.

Chapter 695C - Health Maintenance Organizations

NRS 695C.1693 Required provision concerning coverage for treatment received as part of clinical trial or study.

Describes the conductions under which a health care plan issued by a health maintenance organization must provide coverage for medical treatment which an enrollee receives as part of a clinical trial or study and exceptions to same; and requirements for disclosure of coverage for such treatments costs.