Missionary Tuberculosis Screening

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ffrsqpilot
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Missionary Tuberculosis Screening

Postby ffrsqpilot » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:34 pm

I am sort of getting an unintentional run-around with tuberculosis screening forms. There seems to be a difference of opinion about these forms and the requirement to have testing done.

Our stake is under the impression that missionaries returning from the field are required to take a tuberculosis screening test. We had copies of the form which we gave returning missionaries to complete as part of their return and report to the Stake. We ran out of forms so we have tried to reorder them but they are not in stock or being replaced. I have called the Distribution Center but they state that the form is no longer in use (they believe the missionary department chose to discontinue the forms). It use to be item 31966 000 English; 31966 002 Spanish; and 31966 140 French all of which were sent to missions only and not to individual stakes. However we have missionaries coming home who do not have the form or were not given the form upon leaving the mission field.

I have also called the Missionary Department in Salt Lake and talked with the medical practicioner who serves there. He stated that the tuberculosis test is required and to use the form (same one that is listed in the old catalog). Since we are out, he volunteered to send a copy to our stake president so we can make copies. But this begs the question - if the requirement exists to have the turberculosis screening done why is there no longer a form?

Since the Missionary department says do it, and the catalog folks say the form was discontinued what are some of you folks doing? Any stake clerks out there that are up to date on how your stake is handling this form and test?

I guess we can continue making copies of the old form but it would be nice to know what the real policy is and whether it is all missionaries, missionaries returning from foreign missions or areas where tuberculosis is common regardless of foreign or stateside mission?

Anyone?

Thanks

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Postby lajackson » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:15 pm

Pilotfly wrote:Our stake is under the impression that missionaries returning from the field are required to take a tuberculosis screening test.


Our son returned Friday from his mission. His mission president said nothing about it. His stake president asked him if his mission asked him to get a screening. He said no. His stake president said fine.

I am aware that in some missions each missionary is screened regularly. I am aware that every missionary, no matter where they served, was required to have a screening within 30 days of returning.

Perhaps the requirement has changed or is changing, depending on the mission. Our son served in the US in an area with no significant TB problems. I will be with the stake president tomorrow. If I remember, I will ask if he is aware of any change in policy.

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Postby jltware » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:52 am

As a less relevant side point, when I returned (about six years ago), I was told that all missionaries were required to have tuberculosis testing done. However, I had served in my own country and hadn't gone overseas except for the mtc. I took it to my doctor, and she wrote a rather blunt note on it saying that the test is redundant and outdated and doesn't prove anything one way or the other for whether you have it, and that it was pointless testing for it when I hadn't left my own country and therefore hadn't had any chance of exposure. She outright refused to do the test on the grounds of it being bad medicine, and she is an active member of the church. The test itself also has risks, as it involves injecting a (very small and usually harmless) quantity of a less virulent version of the bacteria. Some people however do have adverse reactions both to the test and to the vaccine

If the missionary department finally has scrapped the testing, they're only about twenty years behind the times, and are finally catching up with current medicine. This may not be the case in countries where medical technology is not available and tuberculosis is still common, but for people like myself, it really was a ridiculous waste of time and money. The test is only about 80% accurate anyway, and misdiagnoses as often as it gets it right. Most medical centres here refuse to do the test because of how useless it is, and you have to go to a less scrupulous more money hungry specialist clinic to find someone willing to do it.

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Postby ffrsqpilot » Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:51 am

Jltware, perhaps your family doctor (if indeed is LDS) needs to contact the missionary department and discuss this with the medical staff in the department. All I know is that the forms are not being sent out from the Distribution Center yet the missionary department says the tests need to be done. So until we hear different (which I was hoping to get some responses here from anyone who may know of a policy that is in place) we will continue to give the returning missionaries who don't have or weren't given the form when departing the mission field and have them take the test and send the results to Salt Lake as stated on the "no longer available" form.

?????

Jim

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Postby lajackson » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:49 pm

lajackson wrote:I will ask if he is aware of any change in policy.


Our stake president is not aware of any policy change. However, since he is no longer receiving the request, he is not instructing the missionary to get the test. He said that if he does receive such a request, he will advise the returned missionaries accordingly.

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Postby scion-p40 » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:41 pm

jltware wrote:. . . If the missionary department finally has scrapped the testing, they're only about twenty years behind the times, and are finally catching up with current medicine. . . .



In my area, our school districts require TB screenings for all incoming students & all volunteers. (Probably school employees, too, but I don't *know* that.) They don't accept the tine test, but have to do the needle thing, which my children really detest.

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Postby lajackson » Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:11 am

scion wrote:In my area, our school districts require TB screenings for all incoming students & all volunteers. (Probably school employees, too, but I don't *know* that.) They don't accept the tine test, but have to do the needle thing, which my children really detest.


Same where I live, school employees included upon initial application to work, although they do accept the tine test.

I can see the requirement as needed when a missionary first completes his application to serve. After that, I think it would depend on the area where the missionary served, and who the missionary served with.

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Postby ffrsqpilot » Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:54 am

It is starting to be fairly obvious that there is some confusion over whether the tuberculosis screening test is to be accomplished or not. Just from this thread alone it appears that some Stake Presidents aren't requiring it while others are. It is also apparent that some missions require it and others don't. Just this week we had two missionaries return and one had the form while the other did not. The interesting thing is one of the missionaries served in North Carolina while the other served in Virginia. One came home with the form while the other was given the form by our stake president.

We discussed this in our stake presidency meeting this last Thursday, and until we hear different, our stake president will ask the missionary if he has the form and give him one of our "copies of copies" if they don't. Our stake executive secretary is a physician so we have asked him to contact the Church Missionary Department and get to the bottom of who is and isn't required the form and testing. And as a side note, I called the Denver South Mission President and talked with his wife who deals with medical issues. She was unaware that testing was being required and as such has not been given any forms to hand to departing missionaries.

Hopefully something will come out from Church Headquarters if this really is a requirement. By the way, the forms are still listed in the 2009 Distribution Catalog. But until there is definitive direction as long as our copier holds out we will give the forms to those who come back without it.

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Postby lajackson » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:48 am

Pilotfly wrote:It is starting to be fairly obvious that there is some confusion over whether the tuberculosis screening test is to be accomplished or not.

But until there is definitive direction . . .


One of the challenges under the existing system is that our stake president never knew if a missionary accomplished the test, since some would send the results directly to the missionary department.

The only way he knew that a test was still required was if the missionary department called him and asked him to follow up with a particular missionary. He also shared with me the percentage of missionaries who actually got the test, which I will not share here, but which may also be a factor in whatever decision is being made at CHQ, if any.

And [pure speculation alert here], it could be that the distribution center ran out of forms and has not been able to print more because they are busy preparing the annual curriculum for us for next year.

We will wait and be patient for now.


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