CMS memo: Hospitals must develop water management policies to prevent Legionnaires' disease

A survey and certification memo released by CMS June 2 says hospitals and other healthcare facilities "must develop" policies to inhibit Legionella growth in water systems to prevent Legionnaires' disease cases.

Per the memo, from the director of CMS' survey and certification group, "CMS expects Medicare certified healthcare facilities to have water management policies and procedures to reduce the risk of growth and spread of Legionella and other opportunistic pathogens in building water systems." Hospitals need to conduct a risk assessment, implement a water management program and specify testing protocols.

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

Healthcare facilities that do not meet the expectations could be at risk of a non-compliance citation.

The memo was effective immediately.

Read it in full here.

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