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NSF International partners with Homeyer Consulting to prevent Legionella

:Legionella sp. colonies growing on an en:agar plate and illuminated using ultraviolet light to increase contrast. Photo courtesy of CDC/James Gathany

Legionella sp. colonies growing on an agar plate and illuminated using ultraviolet light to increase contrast. Photo courtesy of CDC/James Gathany

Global public health and safety organization NSF International is partnering with Homeyer Consulting Services, Inc. to provide healthcare facilities with specialized water systems management services to control Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.

The partnership will help hospitals and other healthcare facilities better manage their water systems, meet government requirements and protect patients from waterborne illnesses such as Legionnaires’ disease.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionnaires’ disease — a severe lung infection contracted by breathing in water droplets containing Legionella — kills 25 percent of people who get it from a healthcare facility. Yet 90 percent of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks can be prevented with more effective water management, the CDC said in a recent report.

The collaboration combines NSF International’s expertise in scientific research, regulatory compliance and public health standards with Homeyer Consulting’s experience in the engineering and technical aspects of managing industrial and commercial water systems.

The partnership will support hospitals, long-term care facilities and other healthcare facilities in meeting a U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requirement to reduce the risk of the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria and other pathogens in their water systems. The federal mandate applies to more than 20,000 healthcare facilities.

Hospital water systems are complex, touching everything from massive cooling towers to tiny medical devices, and the partnership provides the healthcare industry with all-encompassing services to identify, control, monitor and verify that waterborne pathogen risks are being managed.

“The bottom line is that Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks are almost completely preventable,” said Christopher Boyd, General Manager of NSF International’s Building Water Health Program in North America. “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.”

Robert Homeyer, President of Homeyer Consulting, noted that his privately held company is the nation’s largest independent industrial water consulting firm. Founded in 1982, Homeyer Consulting advises more than 6,500 sites worldwide, has written more than 1,000 water management plans and oversees more than $150 million in water treatment contracts.

“By partnering with NSF International in healthcare we can bring a whole new dimension to our portfolio of products,” Homeyer said. “As a biochemist and pharmacist, I respect the work NSF International has done in health and safety. By combining our vast experience in treated water systems and utility waters with NSF International’s broad health- and safety-related work, we can offer an unparalleled water management plan to our clients.”

NSF International, an independent organization founded in 1944, is developing the first standard to comprehensively address Legionella and other waterborne pathogens, as well as chemical and physical hazards, in building water systems. The standard, NSF 444: Prevention of Injury and Disease Associated with Building Water Systemsis being developed in collaboration with more than 100 industry, academic and healthcare experts. The standard is expected to be finalized and published in 2018.

NSF International is also a founding member of the Healthcare Infections Transmission System (HITS) Consortium, which works to reduce infections in healthcare settings from bacteria-transmission systems including air and water.