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The Infection Prevention Strategy (TIPS)

Nov 4, 2019

Legionellosis accounts for thousands of hospital admissions and many deaths. It has a 10% mortality rate for those infected and that rate goes up as high as 25% in a healthcare setting.

The good news is, it’s controllable. In fact, it’s largely an engineering problem that has known, low-tech controls.

Given the prevalence of the issue, the high mortality rate and increased risk in healthcare settings (especially in LTC), CMS now says that Hospitals must develop water management policies to prevent Legionnaires’ disease. They’re calling for hospitals to do a risk assessment, implement a water management program and specify testing protocols. The approach sounds like it would be in line with that of a good HIPAA or cyber-security program. That is, you must build a culture of control and manage the issue for the long haul.

On this episode, Dave Purkiss and Joseph Cotruvo tell you what Legionella is, how it can be controlled and why health systems should prioritize the issue. Most importantly, they’ll tell you about the standards, tools, and approaches that’ll help you implement a sound water management program, keep your patients safe, and avoid a non-compliance citation from CMS.


On this episode you’ll learn:

  • What is Legionella?
  • Why was it largely unknown prior to 1976?
  • Why does Legionellosis have such a high mortality rate?
  • Can we control the issue and prevent outbreaks?
  • What is the CDC doing to track outbreaks and promote the appropriate measures to control it?
  • How much of a problem is Legionella for U.S. Hospitals?
  • Are Hospital leaders aware of the issue?
  • Why are Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities at greater risk?
  • Are healthcare leaders aware of the tools that exist to properly manage water systems and control Legionella?
  • When did CMS begin to regulate the issue?
  • How does CMS validate that the health systems are properly managing their water systems?
  • Why should a healthcare organization prioritize this issue?
  • What advice would you give a health system leader for getting started with a water management program?
  • How can health systems use tools like the NSF 444 standard and ASHRAE 188 to guide them?
  • Is there a potential for a CMS audit and are there any financial penalties involved?
  • The Legionella 2018 conference: Who’s it for? What you’ll learn? What are the goals of the conference?
  • How does a good water systems control program relate to a HIPAA program or a cybersecurity program?


This episode originally aired on The #HCBiz Show on February 21, 2018.