Legionella Requirements & Recommendations
Requirements: CMS Legionella Prevention
In June of 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a memorandum titled, “Requirement to Reduce Legionella Risk in Healthcare Facility Water Systems to Prevent Cases and Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease (LD)”. This is a requirement for certain provider types to maintain their Medicare/Medicaid certification.
The CDC provides a "Practical Guide to Implementing Industry Standards for Legionella Management" in the form of a toolkit which can be downloaded from the CDC website here. Here is part of their recommendation:
"Legionella, the bacterium that causes a type of serious lung infection known as Legionnaires’ disease, grows best in building water systems that are not well maintained. Some water systems in buildings have a higher risk for Legionella growth and spread than others. Legionella water management programs are now an industry standard for large buildings in the United States (ASHRAE 188: Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems June 26, 2015. ASHRAE:Atlanta.)"
Ways to Approach Legionella Management
If you’re a provider type identified in the CMS Legionella Memorandum – compliance is mandatory. As a healthcare provider not specifically identified in the CMS directive, you still have the CDC recommendations to consider and could take any of the 3 approaches below.
Comply with the memorandum, believing it will eventually affect you and/or it's the right thing to do.
Adopt certain elements of a water management plan to improve your infection prevention program and/or prepare for future CMS updates
Ignore the memorandum until updates require your provider type to comply
CMS Legionella Compliance
As a Medicare-certified provider you are required to ensure your facility has a water management plan and documentation that, at a minimum, includes 3 key elements:
Facility Risk Assessment
Water Management Program
Specified Testing Protocols
We are happy to discuss CMS requirements in more detail. So contact us with any questions you have or if you just need information to get started!
How Trusted Water Can Help:
Trusted Water can help you understand the CMS directive and simplify your water management plan requirements. Whether you are following the CMS mandate or the CDC recommendations, we can help you implement any or all of the steps for a legionella water management plan. You can follow the links below for more information about each of the 3 steps for Legionella compliance.
Who's affected by CMS Legionella Requirements?
Updated again in July 2018, the memorandum applies specifically to the following provider types; Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals and Long-Term Care centers. While these provider types are identified specifically by the memorandum, it was intended to “provide general awareness for ALL healthcare organizations”, including outpatient settings.