New regulations from the federal government are reinforcing the need for healthcare facilities to take proactive steps to prevent outbreaks of deadly Legionnaires’ disease and other infections resulting from pathogens in their water systems.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new requirements that any Medicare-certified facility – amounting to almost all of the nation’s hospitals and long-term care facilities – must have a water management plan in place that includes water testing and control measures.

What is the CMS Memo?  A directive issued requiring facilities to minimize the spread of Legionella and other waterborne pathogens (e.g., Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Burkholderia, Stenotrophomonas, nontuberculous mycobacteria, and Fungi).  (CMS Memo)

Who is impacted? All Medicare and Medicaid participating institutions must immediately establish policies, procedures, and reports documenting water management results to validate that facilities are preventatively addressing waterborne disease.

Water testing protocols are required.  Water management alone does not protect your facility from waterborne bacteria, you need to test your water, establish control measures and apply corrective measures (NY DOH documents).   Recommended testing protocols should include testing when factors are present for Legionella growth: Please note that the following list is a sample of factors to be considered.

  • External factors: New construction, water main breaks, fire hydrant usage, and changes in municipal water quality
  • Internal Factors: Water pressure changes, construction and renovation, water temperature changes, equipment changes, scale and sediment in the your water inadequate disinfectant, water stagnation, changes in treatment products (e.g., disinfectants), changes in the municipal water supply, water discoloration events
  • Demonstrated infection in local population as well as those that are healthcare acquired.

Where do we start?  Review and follow CDC and ASHRAE 188 Guidelines.  Or, for a no obligation 30 minute consultation to get a jump start in developing your CMS compliant program, or, for a free Water Management Plan quote, call the experienced professionals at LiquiTech today @ 630-693-0500.