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Mass cancellations of diagnostic test orders at VA hospitals draw scrutiny

Radiology technologist Jeff Dettbarn

Cancellations of more than 250,000 radiology orders at VA hospitals across the country since 2016 have raised questions about whether – in a rush to clear out outdated and duplicative diagnostic orders – some facilities failed to follow correct procedures. At issue is a concern over whether some medically necessary orders for CT scans and other imaging tests were cancelled improperly.

The VA inspector general is now auditing mass cancellations at eight VA medical centers “to determine whether VA processed radiology requests in a timely manner and appropriately managed canceled requests,” VA Inspector General Michael Missal said.

Those hospitals are in Tampa and Bay Pines, Florida; Salisbury, North Carolina; Cleveland; Dallas; Denver; Las Vegas; and Los Angeles.

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McCain to be buried Sunday at U.S. Naval Academy cemetery

John McCain buried at Naval Academy CemeteryJohn McCain was to buried Sunday afternoon a private ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy, one day after he was eulogized by former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush and his daughter.

McCain, who served 32 years in the U.S. Senate, will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery after a 2 p.m. ceremony at the chapel in Annapolis, Md., according to McCain's website. McCain graduated from the academy in 1958 and went on to become a decorated fighter pilot who was captured by North Vietnam in 1967.

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Mattis rejects plan to privatize military effort in Afghanistan

Mattis rejects plans to privatize military effort in Afghanistan

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday shot down recently recirculated plans to privatize combat efforts in Afghanistan.

“When the Americans put their nation’s credibility on the line, privatizing it is probably not a wise idea,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

The former head of U.S. Central Command did not mention by name Erik Prince, the Blackwater founder who in recent weeks has shopped a plan to replace most U.S. troops in Afghanistan with private contractors.

Mattis had been asked if there was an advantage to privatizing forces if there are going to be boots on the ground in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.

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VA wrongly denied hundreds of sexual trauma claims by veterans, watchdog report finds

Veterans denied care for sexual trauma

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wrongly denied hundreds of military sexual trauma claims in recent years, leaving potentially thousands of veterans without benefits, according to a new report from the VA inspector general.

The VA in 2017 denied 5,500 of 12,000 military sexual trauma claims, and Tuesday's report found that 1,300 of those claims were processed incorrectly.

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Senators demand answers on reported lead poisoning at Army bases

Sen. Time Kaine demands answers to charges of lead poisoning on military bases

A handful of senators sent a letter to the Army on Friday asking about reports of lead poisoning on U.S. military bases and urging officials to outline steps they are taking to protect any affected families and children.

“The health and safety of our servicemembers and their families are of the utmost importance,” Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) wrote in the letter to Army Secretary Mark Esper obtained by Reuters.

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Trump cancels military parade, feuds with D.C. mayor over ballooning cost

Trump cancels military parade

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he has canceled plans for a military parade in Washington, and ignited a feud with the D.C. mayor after accusing “local politicians” of price gouging.

“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up!”

CNBC reported Thursday that the expected cost of Trump’s planned parade had ballooned to $92 million, significantly higher than previous estimates of $12 million and $30 million.

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Trump allies who belong to his private Mar-a-Lago club are reportedly making decisions for the VA

The shado rulers of the VA

Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”

O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.

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