Legionella Risk Management for NYC Healthcare Facilities

legionella risk managementHospitals and healthcare facilities have an obligation to keep their patients safe and healthy. Hospital acquired infections (HAI) can present a serious danger for patients.

Hospital cooling towers face additional regulation from the state of New York, as well as the city of New York, due to the vulnerability of healthcare patients to further infection.

Am I at Risk of Legionella Growth in My Cooling Towers?

A recent study of cooling towers in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, revealed that 48% of cooling towers contained Legionella Pneumophila, which is the most common species of legionella.

Of all the cooling towers surveyed, 93% of the cooling towers were cleaned annually and were, in the eyes of the facilities managers, well maintained.

While the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t implement the same legal requirements as the city and state of New York, the study nonetheless revealed that legionella grows even in cooling towers that seem to be well maintained.

How Can I Manage My Risk for Legionella in Cooling Towers?

As mentioned, it’s extremely important for healthcare facilities to treat potential legionella growth with the utmost seriousness.

The most effective, and most important, method of risk management is to work with a professional to create a detailed cooling tower maintenance plan. It’s best to work with established cooling tower specialists who employ highly qualified Certified Water Technologists.

Creating a cooling tower maintenance plan is arduous and must strictly adhere to all state and city requirements set forth for legionella containment. After working with a professional to create the best plan for your facility, all you have to do is ensure the job is being done right.

Similarly, it may be wise to hire a third party for managing the risks of legionella growth in cooling towers. Your regular water treatment company may be biased during inspection or maintenance plans, since it is their own work they’re judging or fixing.

A third party will be unbiased and have only your best interests in mind. Plus, when you hire an outside company, you have the option to work with people who specialize in cooling towers, as well as have extensive knowledge of the regulatory landscape.

Properly managing the risk of legionella growth in cooling towers is extremely important for healthcare facilities – for patient safety as well as for legal liability. Work with certified professionals to best manage your risk.

To learn more about legionella in healthcare facilities, continue reading about legionella risk assessment.

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