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Hawkwin

Privacy of Health Forms

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I was reading a question about health forms on scoutingmagazine.org forums. Apparently, my.scouting.org states that all individuals (parents, scouts, and siblings) that attend or otherwise participate in scouting events must complete Part A and Part B of the health form.

I was surprised by this but after a bit of thought, it makes sense from a liability perspective; but then I wondered about privacy rules regarding such. I could see where some parents may be uncomfortable disclosing some health information to other adults that are not medical professionals. And of course, some parents might not be convinced that such documents would be kept private (and I don't see any disclosure in the document that claims it would be kept private or otherwise provides recourse to the adult if it isn't).

How to handle such? How does your troop or pack handle such? I might have a future as a CC or a ASM/SM and I'd rather know how to handle this possibility now they have to deal with it in the moment.

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I started writing a long story about an issue I had with parents not wanting to disclose. I decided to delete that and not to post the story even though no names were used. 

Long story short, I am accepting responsibility for their youth and others. Any medical condition that may effect that youth OR OTHERS around them, I need to know about. I may need to communicate that to other leaders as well. It is never discussed with other Scouts or parents. 

Beyond that, I keep the files in a locked box that has 4 keys which I distribute to other leaders in case of emergency. 

If you are trusting me to bring your child back home safely then you should trust me with their medical information and that I will keep in private. If you do not trust me to do that, then why on earth would your trust me with your child. 

There is one caveat that I have learned. It has never come up, but if it does I plan to handle it in the following manner.  If Scout X has a medical condition that could impact other Scouts, I have a discussion with the parents of Scout X. I would suggest we have a group meeting with other Scout parents. If they disagree, I tell them I would like to take it to the CO and/or Council to have a discussion about next steps. I've never had to do that so I am not sure what would happen from there. 

 

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This isn't your question but I thought I would share this.  Our CC does not destroy any of the forms when they are outdated.  She hand delivers those forms back to the parents.  It may seem like a small detail, any of these forms could be photocopied or the details could be written down but I think it shows responsibility and accountability for the details entrusted to her.  Maybe the parents care about the paperwork, maybe they don't, but they gave it to her and she gives it back so they can dispose of it instead of wondering or assuming that she did.

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Health forms or no trips. Seriously it is a health and safety issue. I've been on a camp out where the binder with the forms did not come with us by accident. The SM was the only one with access, and he didn't go. Just happened that I had to take a Scout to the immediate care. Luckily  it was a local camp out, and we met mom there.

Never again.

As for disposing of out of date forms, I have access to a shredbox at work.

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The OP raises a good question. Balancing need to know (safety), privacy, and treating adults with respect.  Before "Family Scouting", our unit treated adults as adults, i.e. as an adult, it was up to you to have and hold your current health form and meds. Just as you, as an adult, do outside of scouting. You have a plan for your asthma, your diet,...you check food ingredients,...you are a responsible adult.

Here is a link to the relevant BSA FAQ .

My $0.02,

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On 3/9/2019 at 6:06 AM, RememberSchiff said:

 

Here is a link to the relevant BSA FAQ .

My $0.02,

Said FAQ's address the OP.   BTW, the application also has furnishing the AHMR to unit leadership.......

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On 3/8/2019 at 4:28 PM, Hawkwin said:

I was reading a question about health forms on scoutingmagazine.org forums. Apparently, my.scouting.org states that all individuals (parents, scouts, and siblings) that attend or otherwise participate in scouting events must complete Part A and Part B of the health form.

I was surprised by this but after a bit of thought, it makes sense from a liability perspective; but then I wondered about privacy rules regarding such. I could see where some parents may be uncomfortable disclosing some health information to other adults that are not medical professionals. And of course, some parents might not be convinced that such documents would be kept private (and I don't see any disclosure in the document that claims it would be kept private or otherwise provides recourse to the adult if it isn't).

How to handle such? How does your troop or pack handle such? I might have a future as a CC or a ASM/SM and I'd rather know how to handle this possibility now they have to deal with it in the moment.

 

We never had any problems with that.  We had a binder with health forms in it.  Nobody ever had privacy concerns.  I think the main thing is the parents wanted their kids problems to be known to the adult leaders.  

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On 3/8/2019 at 8:30 PM, HelpfulTracks said:

I started writing a long story about an issue I had with parents not wanting to disclose. I decided to delete that and not to post the story even though no names were used. 

Long story short, I am accepting responsibility for their youth and others. Any medical condition that may effect that youth OR OTHERS around them, I need to know about. I may need to communicate that to other leaders as well. It is never discussed with other Scouts or parents. 

Beyond that, I keep the files in a locked box that has 4 keys which I distribute to other leaders in case of emergency. 

If you are trusting me to bring your child back home safely then you should trust me with their medical information and that I will keep in private. If you do not trust me to do that, then why on earth would your trust me with your child. 

There is one caveat that I have learned. It has never come up, but if it does I plan to handle it in the following manner.  If Scout X has a medical condition that could impact other Scouts, I have a discussion with the parents of Scout X. I would suggest we have a group meeting with other Scout parents. If they disagree, I tell them I would like to take it to the CO and/or Council to have a discussion about next steps. I've never had to do that so I am not sure what would happen from there. 

 

My thought as well about trust.  If you can trust me to supervise your son in a wilderness area at least three hours walk from a road, you should be able to trust me with their health information (and one of the leaders did carry that health info for the scouts present in their backpack).  

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On 3/8/2019 at 8:49 PM, thrifty said:

This isn't your question but I thought I would share this.  Our CC does not destroy any of the forms when they are outdated.  She hand delivers those forms back to the parents.  It may seem like a small detail, any of these forms could be photocopied or the details could be written down but I think it shows responsibility and accountability for the details entrusted to her.  Maybe the parents care about the paperwork, maybe they don't, but they gave it to her and she gives it back so they can dispose of it instead of wondering or assuming that she did.

We did the same. Every year when the parents turned in a new form, we would return the old form.  I think that's part of what sets up a situation of trust.  

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59 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

 

We never had any problems with that.  We had a binder with health forms in it.  Nobody ever had privacy concerns.  I think the main thing is the parents wanted their kids problems to be known to the adult leaders.  

It isn't about the scouts, it is about the parents (and siblings) that now must also complete the forms and turn them in. I can see where a parent might be hesitant to turn over their medical information to another adult just for attending a camp out.

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1 minute ago, Hawkwin said:

It isn't about the scouts, it is about the parents (and siblings) that now must also complete the forms and turn them in. I can see where a parent might be hesitant to turn over their medical information to another adult just for attending a camp out.

I don't think this is a new thing.  I'm going to guess it's a subtlty that most packs & troops haven't realized.

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Just now, Hawkwin said:

 I can see where a parent might be hesitant to turn over their medical information to another adult just for attending a camp out.

It's sometimes even worse.

I was at a Merit Badge College event where the organizers requested A&B medical forms.

For a 3-hour, classroom event.

The overreach can be utterly stupid...

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I've been to a GSUSA event where the adults were required to bring their medical forms,  but in a sealed envelope.  The envelope was handed over to the event organizers and then handed back at the end of the weekend.  The organizers were trusting us that we actually had a medical form in that envelope -- which was only to be open if the need arose.    (Most of the attendees were GSUSA troop leaders who were quite familiar with the GSUSA medical forms.)

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1 hour ago, Treflienne said:

I've been to a GSUSA event where the adults were required to bring their medical forms,  but in a sealed envelope.  The envelope was handed over to the event organizers and then handed back at the end of the weekend.  The organizers were trusting us that we actually had a medical form in that envelope -- which was only to be open if the need arose.    (Most of the attendees were GSUSA troop leaders who were quite familiar with the GSUSA medical forms.)

Interesting, but I'm not sure what the point of that was.  The value of the medical form is knowing what history people have and being able to recognize their problems as they arise based on their history.

When you're at the point where you're on the way to the ER most of the value of the form is gone.  After all, the vast majority of us do not walk around with a completed medical form and ER procedures are predicated on that fact.  There is some value to having a medical history available, especially if it's an adult that's unconscious or a kid who may not know his own full story, but again, the ER is set up assuming those things to be true.

I had a scout helicoptered out from a campout, you know what nobody asked or gave a crap about --- his medical form.

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2 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

Interesting, but I'm not sure what the point of that was.  The value of the medical form is knowing what history people have and being able to recognize their problems as they arise based on their history.

When you're at the point where you're on the way to the ER most of the value of the form is gone.  After all, the vast majority of us do not walk around with a completed medical form and ER procedures are predicated on that fact.  There is some value to having a medical history available, especially if it's an adult that's unconscious or a kid who may not know his own full story, but again, the ER is set up assuming those things to be true.

I had a scout helicoptered out from a campout, you know what nobody asked or gave a crap about --- his medical form.

My interpretation was that in that GSUSA case, the adults didn't mind having a form handy in case one was needed.  That's probably more palatable than every parent having to provide their health background just to attend a pack camping trip.

My guess is that most units don't bother with the parent forms for a short term trip.  Summer Camp or Philmont sure.  But, your average parent is just as likely to have a health problem in line at the grocery store than at a weekend camping trip.  In that case you're going to call EMS anyways.

 

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