Posts Tagged ‘forms’

PADI has an unimaginable number of liability releases to cover a myriad of circumstances; divers in basic training, divers in advanced training, certified divers who are not taking a training course, divers taking various highly specialized training courses, divers on boats, divers on excursions, ad infinitum.  So it is easy (especially for persons not in the diving business) to get the forms confused.  I have made similar posts previously, but forms also get updated and BSA, FSB and PADI policies change.  So I will try again.

If you are attending the Florida Sea Base SCUBA CERTIFICATION program in 2012 you must submit anAnnual BSA Health and Medical Record form (parts A, B, and C), a RSTC/PADI Medical form, a PADI Standard Safe Diving Practices Statement of Understanding and a PADI Liability Release and Assumption of Risk Agreement.  The Safe Diving Practices form and the Liability Release are in the Student File Folder that is included in the “crew pacs” that also contain your PADI Open Water Diver manual.  If Dr. Ellen emails you a copy of the Liability Release, please execute that form and send it with your other paperwork.  The RSTC/PADI Medical form is also in the student file folder, but you need to use a paper copy (click on the above link) so it can be signed by a doctor.  The PADI policy says the form does not have to be signed by a doctor if all health questions are answered with “NO”.  HOWEVER, the BSA requires this form be signed regardless of the answers provided in the health history.  Therefore, both the BSA medical form and the RSTC/PADI medical form must be signed by a doctor.

If you are attending the Florida Sea Base SCUBA ADVENTURE or SCUBA LIVEABOARD program in 2012 you must submit an Annual BSA Health and Medical Record form (parts A, B, and C) and a PADI Liability Release and Assumption of Risk for Supervision of Certified Divers.

I apologize for the confusion.  This is an annual “event”.  I wish I could explain why this seems to be a recurring issue, but it would not be well received.  The information and forms provided above are correct.  The correct paperwork may or may not have been included in the crew packets that were sent to the registered crew leaders.  The information on the official BSA and/or Florida Sea Base web sites may not be accurate.  Once again, the information provided in this post is correct for 2012 Scuba Certification, Scuba Adventure and Scuba Liveaboard crews.

I am headed back to the IDC this morning.  They need me for an hour or two and then I’ll be back on base.  Maybe hopping into the pool will help wake me up.  I feel like a zombie this morning.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

Every year at this I start getting frantic calls from adult leaders and parents regarding the deadlines for submission of the medical forms for 2010 scuba participants at Florida Sea Base.  Medical forms for scuba participants (Scuba Certification, Scuba Adventure and Scuba Liveaboard) arriving in the spring were due on 01 January.  Medical forms for scuba participants arriving in the summer are due on 01 March.  This is not a new policy and most of the crews registered 11 or 12 months ago.  The crew leaders and individual participants were notified of these deadlines months in advance.  It seems to be common that as the deadline approaches the participants begin to realize that their insurance company won’t pay for a physical until June or July because that’s when they had their physical in 2009.  The management of the Florida Sea Base has been dealing with this issue long before my arrival in 2000.

Why do we need the physicals in advance?  I am responsible for the review of the hundreds of scuba medicals that are submitted to the Florida Sea Base each year.  I have one
Scuba Commissioner and one Office Manager to help me.  These two wonderful people are seasonal employees and are not at Sea Base year ’round.  All of us have other duties.  If the medical forms are sent late and program starts, we have very little time available on a daily basis to review them.  Our focus has to be on running the program.  The BSA and Florida Sea Base place the safety of our participants above everything else.  Therefore we review the medicals with great scrutiny and require that they be filled out completely and properly.  We actually enforce the existing health policies and constraints and employ staff who are knowledgeable about these issues.  Some facilities are more profit driven or a little less meticulous, whichever way you prefer to look at it.  The Florida Sea Base also retains an MD who specializes in internal medicine and sub-specializes in at least three fields including hyperbaric medicine and is the Chief Medical Officer for the Baylor Hospital System’s hyperbaric facility.

Why such scrutiny and attention to detail?  Scuba diving has more inherent risk than any other activity at the Florida Sea Base and most other camp facilities owned by the BSA.  As a parent and/or adult leader, what do you think an “acceptable” loss ratio would be for the children who scuba dive at the Florida Sea Base?  The management at FSB feel the answer is ZERO.  We can not loose one single child – EVER.  Therefore we must take extra precautions in our continued attempt to provide BSA members with the safest possible opportunity to participate in scuba diving.  I don’t mean to scare anyone, but scuba divers die every year in the Florida Keys.  While ultimately every scuba diver is responsible for her/his own safety, none of us wants to live with the memory of a child (or adult) who died while attending the Florida Sea Base.  Therefore, we (as an organization) are conservative and place the safety of our participants above all else.  If this means some children are denied participation then we are saddened, but will not waive.

Significantly more than 50% of the medical forms submitted by scuba participants at the Florida Sea Base have errors.  Most are minor and are the fault of the parents and adult leaders for not reading and following the directions.  The most common problems include the form not being signed by the participant AND the parent.  The form must be signed by BOTH and must be dated by BOTH.  The Florida Sea Base crew number is not included in the space provided on the form.  There is only one way to keep thee medical forms organized – by Florida Sea Base crew number.   The date of the exam is not included in the doctor’s information on the last page of the form.  Without this date we do not know if the exam has been conducted within the past 12 months.  The questions in the Health History section have to be answered “yes” or “no”.  This is explained in the directions.  Check marks a Xs don’t mean anything.  The person completing the form has to write the letters “no” or “yes”.  If any question is left unanswered, the form is incomplete and the participant is not cleared to dive.

There are four medical issues of grave concern for Florida Sea Base scuba participants.  BSA and Florida Sea Base policies have been established for three of these issue.  The fourth is still under investigation.

Asthma or RAD – persons with asthma or RAD or any history of asthma or RAD must take a Methacholine Challenge Test (MCT).  The complete test data, comments, prognosis, diagnosis or other information has to be sent to the Florida Sea Base.  My staff of two and I have to review that information and then forward it to our hyperbaric medical doctor for his review.  The only way a particpant can be cleared for scuba is if the Florida Sea Base doctor determines the asthma or RAD is “resolved” based on the MCT results.

Diabetes – persons under the age of 18 with type one or type two diabetes are disqualified from our scuba programs.  Persons 18 or older with type one diabetes are disqualified regardless of control.  Persons 18 or older with type two diabetes must submit copies of their last three lab reports including the A1c information.  These three reports must document A1c values of 7.0 or less.

Seizures – persons with any history of seizure disorders must provide evidence from a doctor on letterhead or a prescription pad indicating the person has been seizure free and has not used medication to prevent seizures within the past 5 years.  Five years is the MINIMUM.  Four an a half years is not rounded up to five years.

Psychotropic drugs – this is the issue still in review.  Lists of psychotropic medications can be found on the internet.  These are generally (but not exclusively) medications used to treat depression, ADD, ADHD, OCD and related issues.  Their has been a concern about diving with these medications for several years.  The bottom line is there are no studies indicating these medicines are safe when subjected to increased pressures.  Some doctors in Great Britain seem to have the best handle on this so far and they are not supportive of the idea.  I am personally working with the Florida Sea Base hyperbaric physician towards fomulating a policy on these medications.  In the meantime, it is imperative that any participant and their parents (in the case of minors) discuss the medicine they are using with their physician for his/her guidance.  These medications can cause nitrogen narcosis symptoms at shallow depth and can produce post dive symptoms that mimic decompression sickness.  Persons who are depressed or are being treated for depression are not good candidates for scuba diving.

The primary reason the Florida Sea Base requests the medical forms in advance for scuba participants is to help insure the safety of the participant.  Another key reason is to avoid the disappointment of turning away a child after they have arrived at the Base.  When a health history reveals any medications, research is required to determine of the medication is compatible with scuba diving.  When a person indicates a history of asthma they have to be contacted and told how to obtain a MCT.  The test is performed by a pulmonologist in a hospital or clinical setting and can take weeks to schedule.   When any issue appears it becomes a one-on-one process that requires a significant amount of time from my limited staff, me and our MD.

Management of the Florida Sea Base is aware that most insurance companies only pay for one physical exam in a 12 month period.  We are empathetic to that issue but do not have a good remedy.  We can not set policy for the insurance industry nor can we waive BSA policies.  Your assistance with meeting the scheduled deadlines for scuba medical forms is greatly appreciated.

Four scuba programs are currently offered at the Florida Sea Base: Scuba Adventure, Scuba Certification, Scuba Liveaboard and the Divemaster Academy.  This article will include the first three programs.  The Divemaster Academy is only offered in the winter and will be discussed in future blogs.  Click on READ MORE.