The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is seeking up to two (2) public health laboratories (PHLs) to provide testing in a flexible, shared services model that enhances Legionella case and outbreak investigation capacity to support CDC, state and local jurisdictions. The selected Legionella Reference Center(s) (LRCs) will provide a variety of testing services related to Legionella outbreak response including clinical and environmental spread-plate culture, molecular detection (real-time PCR) and next generation sequencing (NGS).


Eligible laboratories include all PHLs with the following capabilities and facilities in place. Specific expectations regarding methodologies to be used by the awardees are outlined in Appendix A. All applicants are required to agree to the minimum requirements (as outlined in Appendix B)

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Currently an Environmental Legionella Isolation Techniques Evaluation (ELITE) Program member laboratory for isolation Legionella from environmental specimens
  2. Currently perform real-time PCR on bacterial isolates in compliance with CLIA requirements
  3. Currently conducting next generation sequencing on bacterial isolates
  4. In possession of the major equipment and space required to conduct the Legionella testing described in Appendix A
  5. Willing to alter or amend existing testing protocols or workflows at the request of APHL and CDC
  6. Willing to provide technical assistance, training and SOPs to other jurisdictions to improve testing capacity
  7. Has a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) in place to meet clinical testing workflows and reporting requirements
  8. Ability to provide consultations to submitters around sample submission and result interpretation
  9. Willingness and ability to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests related to Legionella testing
  10. Ability to contract with APHL or has an existing relationship with a third party that can contract directly with APHL on behalf of the laboratory

Anticipated RFP Schedule

October 10, 2022  –  RFP Issued

October 27, 2022 – Informational Teleconference at 2:00 pm ET (optional)             

November 11, 2022 – Letter of Intent Due to APHL by 5:00 pm ET  *NOTE: THIS DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED FROM THE ORIGINAL DATE (NOVEMBER 4)

November 18, 2022 RFP Responses Due to APHL by 5:00 pm ET

December 9, 2022 – Proposal review completed

December 12 – 15, 2022 – As needed, follow-up interviews

December 16, 2022 – Final review completed and awardees selected

February 6, 2023 – Anticipated Contract Start Date

Spring 2023 – Establish submission and result reporting processes, validation of assays and training activities, as needed

April 1, 2023 – LRC(s) begin accepting samples/specimens/isolates from submitting laboratories

APHL will communicate any modification to this anticipated schedule on APHL's procurement website ( and via an email blast to the PHLs.

Informational Teleconference

APHL will hold an optional teleconference on Thursday, October 27, 2022 at 2:00 pm ET. The purpose of this call will be to provide a brief overview of the project and to allow potential applicants to ask CDC and APHL questions. Please come with questions prepared.

Teleconference call-in information is below. Please contact or no later than 12:00 pm ET on Monday, October 24, 2022 if you would like to be sent the calendar invitation.

Join Zoom Meeting

Call-in Information

+13017158592    US (Washington DC)                   Meeting ID:  870 4624 4056

+13126266799    US (Chicago)                                 Passcode: 821830

Response Submittal

Confirmation of Intent to Respond

APHL requires that prospective applicants submit a brief email statement indicating an intent to submit a proposal. APHL has extended the deadline to submit a letter of intent. The new deadline by which APHL must receive this email is by 5:00pm ET on November 11, 2022. To allow for appropriate review process planning, a letter of intent is required for consideration.

Final Response

APHL must receive complete responses by 5:00 pm ET on November 18, 2022. Please see the Proposal-Required Submissions section for items that must be included in the completed proposal. Applicants should send proposals via email to

APHL will send an email acknowledging the receipt of your application; if you do not receive an acknowledgement within 48 hours, please call Liz Toure at (240) 485-3860 to confirm receipt.


The official RFP document will provide detailed information in regards to this request, please read it in its entirety.

Questions and Answers​​

Our laboratory is currently working to achieve ELITE certification before the end of the year. Would a lack of being currently ELITE certified disqualify us from this opportunity?

After a lab is accepted and can begin testing in April 2023, what is the timeframe for this project?

Will protocols be available for PCR and whole genome sequencing?

If we are not currently an ELITE member, but were in the past, can we still apply?

What will the reporting requirements be for reporting results to the submitter or CDC?

What will the reference center report?

Who pays for shipping samples to the reference center?

Can you give us an approximate sample/specimen number or capacity we need to be able to manage to be able to plan costs?

The RFP mentions providing support for environmental investigation. Do we need to have this capability, and should we budget for this epi support?

How will geography play into the selection of the reference center(s)? Will there be two from different geographic locations?

Is the intent in this cycle to only award one reference center, with a possibility of two?

Will CDC help with the validation process for reference center?

How do we account for personnel time in our budget?

Will there be another RFP in the next fiscal year to bring on additional lab(s)? If so, roughly when?

We stopped participating in the ELITE PT program several years ago. If we sign up and participate in the February event and April ELITE events, would we be eligible to be a Reference Center for this RFP or does our current inactive member status disqualify us from this cycle?

If our laboratory h​as the capability to report results to our clients via our web portal and to the CDC and health department via ELR do we still need to provide results via the secure ftp, fax, and email mechanisms?​

Question 3 is asking to enter personnel from specimen accessioning through each methodology and reporting. Do you want us to enter the personnel that will be doing the routine ~60 specimens testing and validation experiment, or do you want us to enter everybody, including personnel that will be able to help in case of large outbreaks and surge?

For budgeting reagents and labor, should it be just based on ~60 specimens per quarter? Will there be independent funding in case of surge or large outbreak?

We would be interested in receiving panels/specimens from CDC for multiplex PCR validation. What would the panel consist of?

Which parts of the application are included in the 10 page response limit?

In the workforce table (Q3) – What are you looking for in the “cross-training” column? Are you asking for what other testing they are cross-trained in or could be cross-trained in, or something else?

For the response does Appendix C need to have the questions included, if so does that count towards the max pages?

Is there a particular font, size or spacing that is preferred for the application?

Is the $100,000 budget only related to startup costs? Should the entire budget be no more than $165,000?