Plan to address Legionnaires’ disease includes new plumbing, faster test results, new water sources
Quincy, IL—(ENEWSPF)—January 11, 2018
By: Rosemary Piser
Yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner laid out plans for minimizing Legionella bacteria risks at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy. The Governor spent a week in residence to assess for himself the levels of service and care being provided at the facility.
During his stay at the Veterans Home, the Governor showered in and drank the water; dined, mingled and played games with residents; personally thanked the residents for their service to our country; and spent much of his time studying medical, water treatment and patient care protocols at the home.
At yesterday’s post-stay press conference, Governor Rauner said, “Some have said they want this home to close. I came here because I wanted a first-hand experience with the home and its staff. Let me be crystal clear. I do not support closing this facility. We have challenges. These facilities are old. We need to make investments in them and now that we have support from U.S. Senator Durbin and bipartisan members of the Illinois General Assembly, it is time to take action.”
The Governor’s plan for addressing the home’s needs include a commitment from Blessing Hospital in Quincy to deliver Legionella test results within hours (rather than days) of receiving specimens. The Illinois Department of Public Health is launching a similar lab service for all health facilities in the state.
The plan also includes upgrading the plumbing systems using the latest materials and technologies, a phased installation of point-of-use faucet filters, and working with the city of Quincy to find a new water source for the home.
In addition, Governor Rauner is appointing a Veterans’ Capital Needs team to develop a forward-looking investment strategy. The team will be made up of health experts, veterans’ advocates, state legislators, federal officials and administration staff.
“We want to eliminate every possible risk and take every possible step to continuously improve the delivery of health care services to this group of American heroes,” Rauner said.
The infrastructure improvements are scheduled to begin within weeks.
Officials will continually review water-treatment processes already under way as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
Legionella is waterborne bacteria that can cause a severe form of pneumonia. The elderly and those with underlying health issues are particularly vulnerable to the bacteria.