Weekend Update

Congress is in session again this coming week. Here is a link to the actions taken on the Hill last week.

The OPM’s Inspector General’s latest semiannual report to Congress (period ended September 30, 2014) and the agency’s response can be found at this link.

The weekend issue of the Wall Street Journal featured a lengthy interview with CVS Health’s chief executive officer. Mr. Merlo notes that American have most of their health provider contact with local pharmacists.  Health plans should take more advantage of these connections as Mr. Merlo suggests. He also notes that CVS now has 906 MinuteClinics in their retail pharmacies.

A recent internal study of CVS workers who used its walk-in clinics suggested their overall health costs are 8% lower than those with the same age and health status who don’t. A shelf of academic research shows the quality of care at such clinics is the same or sometimes better than the emergency room.

a Mr. Merlo also notes that silver tsunami of 10,000 Baby Boomers  becoming eligible for Medicare every day.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal reports on an amazing new Duke University study.

The scientists involved say that they have created the first lab-grown human skeletal muscles that contract in response to electrical and other stimuli. In other words, the tissue works like regular muscles—but in a dish. Skeletal muscles, such as the biceps, are the ones most of us think of when we use the word “muscle.”

Eventually, doctors could take cells from a patient, create functioning muscles in the lab and test various drugs to determine which one—and how much of it—would work best for that individual. The research might also help scientists to reduce their reliance on animal testing

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