Single Source Procurement: Legionella Bacteria Testing Services

Pursuant to New York State Finance Law § 163.10(b), The New York State Department of Health is presenting the following summary of relevant circumstances, and material and substantial reasons why a competitive procurement was not feasible.

The Department of Health (DOH) was tasked with the expedited collection and testing of cooling tower water samples for Legionella Bacteria for health and safety reasons. Under it discretionary authority DOH contracted with Specialty Pathogens Laboratory to provide testing services of samples provided by building owners, operator, landlords for the Legionella Bacteria. Due to the emergent and continuing nature of the outbreak it was determined that our discretionary limit will be exceeded. Therefore; DOH requested and received approval of a Contract Reporter Exemption Request for single source contract with Specialty Pathogens Laboratory to continue to provide the previously provided testing services for those test kits currently shipped to requestors. This initiative is expected to run through September 30, 2015.

Consideration was initially given to those laboratories located in New York State who were included on CDC's ELITE testing list; this is a list of labs with a proven track record for providing high quality testing. ELITE is a certification program overseen by CDC that includes environmental laboratories that perform Legionella testing. Additionally, it was critical that the lab selected be able to provide real-time PCR testing for Legionella during this event to ensure a rapid turnaround for the reporting of results (rather than relying on time-intensive culture methodology).

Only one environmental laboratory in New York was able to perform PCR testing for Legionella - EMSL Analytical Laboratory - 307 West 38th Street, New York, NY, 10018. A Wadsworth staff member called to inquire if the lab was able to provide testing and was told they could not accept any samples, as they were already overwhelmed with testing in NYC. If selected, they would have needed to ship samples to another laboratory. This would increase the turnaround time for test results.

A further search was conducted for qualifying labs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The laboratory that was chosen - Specialty Pathogens Laboratory, 1401 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA has provided testing services in the past for sites that have needed remediation testing. They are a high quality laboratory that had the ability to provide RT-PCR testing for a large number of water samples and are certified through the CDC Elite program. The laboratory also holds a NYS Environmental Laboratory Approval Program potable water permit which is desirable and indicative of a high quality laboratory (they can perform high quality water testing for presence of bacterial pathogens). The Director of this laboratory, Dr. Janet Stout, was previously employed by the CDC and has had extensive experience dealing with Legionella outbreaks as well as routine water surveillance. She is a leading expert in Legionella disinfection technologies as well as detection of Legionella. In addition, the laboratory had a large capacity for testing by both PCR and culture and is accredited by A2LA for Legionella testing. For the sake of continuity we would prefer to continue utilizing Specialty Pathogen Laboratory.

Procurement / Program Name Legionella Bacteria Testing Services
Contractor Name(s) Specialty Pathogens Laboratory
Contract Period 8/01/2015 – 9/31/2015
Contract Number(s) TBD