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Memorandum

Memorandum Tuberculosis Screening, Testing and Treatment of Healthcare Personnel

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Memorandum

TO: Health Care Facility Chief Executive Officers and Administrators
       Infection Preventionists and Occupational Health Managers

FROM: Elizabeth D. Kelley, MBA, MPH
             Director, Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality
             Kevin Cranston, MDiv, Assistant Commissioner
             Director, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences

DATE: November 25, 2019

RE: Tuberculosis Screening, Testing and Treatment of Healthcare Personnel

The purpose of this memorandum is to inform Massachusetts Health Care Facilities of updates to tuberculosis (TB) testing best practices and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) resources for developing and implementing facility-based policies.

In May 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association released updated guidelines for TB screening, testing and treatment of health care personnel (HCP). DPH strongly encourages adoption of these guidelines.1 Because of the overall decrease of TB cases and low incidence of TB among HCP due to occupational exposure, routine practice of annual testing is no longer recommended for HCP. The recommendations for facility risk assessments and infection control practices did not change from the 2005 guidelines.

Because of the updates in best practice, DPH is rescinding circular letter DHCQ 07-07-477 and will remove the following associated documents from its website:

  • Policy: Tuberculosis Testing and Treatment for Nursing Homes and Rest Homes
  • Two Step Skin Testing: Nursing Home and Rest Home Residents 
  • Targeted Testing and Treatment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection

Please review your health care facility’s TB screening, testing and treatment policies with your infection prevention and occupational health team members to ensure they align with these updated recommendations.

TB information for health care personnel may be found on the DPH website at: https://www.mass.gov/lists/tuberculosis-information-for-health-care-providers-and-public-health.

General TB information may be found on the DPH website at: https://www.mass.gov/tuberculosis.

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