2 field experts partner to help LTC avoid Legionnaires' outbreaks

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A public health and safety organization is partnering with a consulting firm to offer long-term care facilities expert advice in avoiding Legionnaires' disease outbreaks.

Ann Arbor, MI-based NSF International announced the new partnership last week, as it joins forces with Homeyer Consulting Services, which bills itself as the “nation's largest independent industrial water consulting firm.” Together, they plan to help skilled nursing and other provider facilities to control Legionella and any other waterborne pathogens.

This issue has been top-of-mind for long-term care leaders, following a deadly outbreak at one nursing home in Illinois. Such controversies could be avoided in the future, with the proper precautionary measures, Christopher Boyd, general manager of NSF International's Building Water Health Program in North America, said in the announcement.

"The bottom line is that Legionnaires' disease outbreaks are almost completely preventable," he said. “There is absolutely no question that we understand where the risks in water systems are and how to develop effective strategies to prevent outbreaks from occurring. By pairing a leading consulting firm for facility water management with a global organization that's laser-focused on health and safety in hospitals and healthcare facilities, we can provide a comprehensive suite of services to guard against these outbreaks."

The partnership said it wants to support long-term care in meeting the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' requirements to reduce the risk of Legionella bacteria and other pathogens in water systems, which apply to more than 20,000 healthcare facilities. NSF is also collaborating with others in the field to develop the first standard to address such pathogens.