Healthcare Facilities Must Improve Water Management To Prevent Legionnaires'

A recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) memo has said healthcare facilities must develop policies to inhibit Legionella growth in water systems, according to an article on on the Becker's Infection Control & Clinical Quality website.

The memo followed a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the risks associated with Legionnaires’ disease and the concerns to healthcare facilities. 

The report said many people being treated at healthcare facilities are at higher risk of Legionnaires’ disease. The report also cites actions that healthcare facility leaders can take to prevent infections. 

Legionnaires’ is a potentially deadly form of bacterial pneumonia. Infection can occur when susceptible people inhale water droplets, sprays or mists contaminated with Legionella pneumophila or related bacteria. 

Legionella-contaminated water can be spread by showers, faucets, hydrotherapy equipment such as jetted therapy pools, ice machines, cooling towers, decorative fountains and water features.

According to the CMS memo, hospitals need to conduct a risk assessment, implement a water management program and specify testing protocols.

CMS surveyors will review facilities' water management implementation policies, procedures and reports.

Healthcare facilities without water management policies could be at risk of a non-compliance citation.

Read the full article here.