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Scanning and uploading of Annual Health and Medical Record

The “Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Annual Health and Medical Record” state that:

  • Records are NOT to be digitized, scanned, sent by email, or stored electronically by unit leaders.

However, I am being asked (by our lead advisor for our Philmont trek this summer) to email him copies of our medical forms so they can be uploaded into Philmont’s registration system.

Why is Philmont asking for these private records to be scanned and uploaded when there are explicit instructions for unit leaders to not do this?

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National has done this for several things - starting with Jambo 17 I believe

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The systems the BSA uses for health forms have strict access control and logging to protect the data. Units cannot be ensured to have the required access control on electronic copies of the Annual Health and Medical Records. This is why units are not permitted to store electronic copies.

If each registrant was given a link to an audited and certified-secure registration system, then this would be understandable. Each registrant could scan and upload the documents themselves and unit leaders would not need to digitize, scan, send by email, or store the records electronically.

However, if only one registration link is given and the designated unit leader is asked to scan and upload these forms (never mind the request that we email him our forms), how is this not in conflict with the instructions linked in my original post?

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With respect to other commenters whoever is asking for them digitally can pound salt.

The electronic version should not be transmitted via email or stored electronically by units, districts, or councils.

The Language of Scouting tells if a word is not defined by BSA, first look at the Merriam Webster dictionary. Here, should is defined as an auxiliary verb, the past tense of shall.

If you send them you are violating policy and BSA cannot tell you to violate their own policy.
They want them electronically, they can change the policy, full hard stop.

I went one round with a camp health officer two years ago and one call to the SE nipped this in the bud.

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That is completely irrelevant. Unit Scouters cannot send them, plain and simple.

We have had local council camps that had us upload the medical forms into their website so we store digital copies on our troop website which has user authentication and other security measures. I think this policy refers to putting in on unsecured websites and such.

The electronic version should not be transmitted via email or stored electronically by units, districts, or councils.

The policy cannot be clearer.


You are clearly incorrect.
Philmont is officially run by national BSA and asks for them in digital form: Advisors should collect the Annual Health and Medical Record form well
in advance of departing on your Philmont trip to ensure that participants
meet all Philmont requirements and upload them into the crew roster in the
Philmont Gateway.
From Guidebook to adventure

Respectfully, no I am not.

In your reference BSA is violating its own policy.

@ChrisDevo was asked by another Scouter to email them the records. BSA policy clearly prohibits this.

The directive cannot be clearer.

Both are wrong to do; both represent yet another reason why we are in the position we are today, that of Scouters, professional and volunteer, doing as they choose to.

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The BSA does not monitor these forums. I suggest speaking with your Council professionals regarding this issue.


Asking for them and having good reason to ask for them are two different things. As someone who has been affected by both identity theft and data breaches on multiple occasions, I can’t simply accept this request as justifiable because:

If they want these in digital form, they should prove that their information systems are compliant and audited by a third-party. Then they should provide unique links to each family to do the scanning and uploading. Asking unit leaders to violate privacy best practices (and potentially state laws) is not reasonable in my opinion.


That is disappointing. Given that these forums are hosted on the national website, one would hope that they would be monitored by national staff.

Also, this isn’t a council issue. Our council has nothing to do with our trip to Philmont.


Having each family upload would be the best, but knowing how slowly BSA technology is updated, I don’t see this happening anytime soon.
Also, I agree that they should get their systems checked by a 3rd party immediately considering how much personal information they store about the kids and because they had a data breach a few months ago.

Your not complying, your asking questions, questioning why this is being done clearly shows you are letting the Oath and Law guide you.

Stick to your guns.

Asking questions is what this forum is for. @ChrisDevo was simply asking why the BSA seemed to have two different policies about the same thing.

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Your Council staff is your interface to the National BSA. If you have a concern with a National BSA policy, you need to communicate via your Council.


The BSA does not have staff to monitor the forums. They have been cutting back on staff due to the bankruptcy. We are thankful the BSA provides the resources for volunteers to discuss the program and help with technical issues. These forums are hosted by a 3rd party, which the BSA pays to provide the hosting service. The BSA has been able to list the forums as critical functions so they can continue operating during the bankruptcy proceedings. They could have easily just shut them down and saved the expense.

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Navigating multiple layers of bureaucracy under time constraint doesn’t seem very effective to me. I understand things like chain-of-command and span-of-control, but I think I’d rather talk to someone directly than through intermediaries. I’m not fond of the telephone game except perhaps as a fun scout meeting activity.

That is the structure that we have to live with. We didn’t set it up, national did.