...the time for action is now
LOMBARD, IL (PRWEB) June 22, 2017
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) earlier this month 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 that includes control measures.
The action was followed by new data on disease incidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said its one-year study of 20 states found that Legionnaires’ cases are occurring all over the country, with people contracting the disease from a healthcare facility in 76% of locations reporting exposures.
Both reports point to the need for water management planning and tout new standards for Legionella control published in 2015 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Legionella is the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. People can become ill after aspirating water vapor from showerheads, cooling towers, hot tubs and decorative fountains. The risk of getting the disease is higher for people who are older and have compromised immune systems, which is why healthcare facilities are so often the source of outbreaks.
“As a company that has specialized in Legionella prevention and remediation for more than 20 years, we have long known the risks associated with these outbreaks, which are being identified more and more frequently across the U.S. and around the world,” said Tory Schira, LiquiTech’s COO. “We commend CMS and the CDC for taking positive steps to address the underappreciated problem of water as a significant source of infection. Clearly, the time for action is now.”
Most problems leading to healthcare-associated outbreaks are preventable with effective water management, the CMS said. Specifically, the agency stated that accreditation surveyors will review policies, procedures, and reports documenting water management implementation results to verify that facilities:
Conduct a facility risk assessment to identify where Legionella and other opportunistic waterborne pathogens, such as Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter and fungi, could grow and spread in the facility water system.
Implement a water management program that follows the ASHRAE 188 industry standard and the Legionella toolkit issued by the CDC, and includes control measures such as physical controls, temperature management, disinfectant level control, visual inspections and environmental testing for pathogens.
Specify testing protocols and acceptable ranges for control measures, and document the results of testing and corrective actions taken when control limits are not maintained.
To assist healthcare organizations in complying with the new rules, LiquiTech is offering free educational webinars each week on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Central Time. Attendees will learn water management plan elements, water testing and analysis and disinfection methods for both for long term prevention and remediation. Register here.
Founded in 1992, LiquiTech is a pioneer in highly effective technologies and services that secure water delivery systems against waterborne pathogen risks. Our solutions include multi-barrier protection; water management plans; filtration; secondary disinfection; water analysis, testing and validation; and real-time, cloud-based monitoring and control systems overseen by specialized engineers. LiquiTech’s copper silver ionization disinfection technology is supported by more than 100 independent research studies and is state and federal EPA-registered technology for the eradication of Legionella in drinking water. Our clients include healthcare, hospitality, commercial, industrial and government facilities, with more than 1,800 installations around the world. LiquiTech is a veteran-owned company.