Glen Jones/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A recent federal audit has uncovered that in the first six months of 2012, $30 million was billed to Medicare for some ambulance transports later termed “mystery rides” because agents could not determine whether the patient had actually received any medical care after the purported ambulance ride.

“[They’re] mystery rides because we don’t have any information in our files, in Medicare files, to show what medical service the person received, of if they received a medical service,” said Suzanne Murrin, deputy inspector general at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Certainly, Medicare was not billed for a medical service, either on the way, where the person left or where the person arrived at.”

The audit, conducted by HHS’ inspector general’s office, dug into Medicare claims for 7.3 million ambulance transports from the first six months of 2012. Medicare pays for ambulance rides for patients to see their doctors, if there is a medical need like the patient cannot walk.

The audit found that $24 million also had been paid out by Medicare “for ambulance transports that did not meet certain program requirements to justify payment.”

“I think what we are finding is that there is a great deal of questionable billing, and there is a great deal,” Murrin said. “This is still a program that needs further action to address weaknesses.”Philadelphia and Houston are trouble spots but investigators say Los Angeles and New York should be added to the list.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services told ABC News recently that it was “strongly committed to eliminating fraud, waste and abuse in ambulance transports” and had put several initiatives in place to fight the problem since 2012.

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Ingram Publishing/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The House has passed a funding bill to avert a government shutdown Wednesday night.

A minority of Republicans joined with Democrats to send the bill to President Obama’s desk.

It will fund the government until Dec. 11, setting up another fiscal battle later this year.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the likely next House Speaker, voted to keep the government open.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who is running to replace McCarthy, also voted for the bill. His opponent in the majority leader race, Rep. Tom Price, voted against it.

House Republicans also voted symbolically to defund Planned Parenthood, though that measure will go to the Senate, not the president’s desk.

Gov’t funding vote:
Yeas: 277 (91 Republicans + 186 Democrats)
Nays: 151 Republicans
Not voting: 7 (5 Republicans, 2 Democrats)

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) – The markets moved higher on the final day of a volatile quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 235 points to finish the day at 16,284.80.

The NASDAQ closed up 103 points, finishing at 4,620.16, while the S&P 500 rose 35 points to end the day at 1,920.03.

The markets close out the third quarter with losses. Over the last few months, investor fear has been driven by China’s shaky economy and an impending decision from the Federal Reserve over whether to raise interest rates.

Payroll processor ADP says private employers added 200,000 jobs this month, up from the 180,000 the month before. The government’s jobs report is due out on Friday.

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Jupiterimages/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) – The National Traffic Safety Board has issued two urgent safety recommendations which includes calling for the Federal Railroad Administration to take over oversight of Washington, DC’s metro system.

“There is now a lack of independent safety oversight of Metrorail,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “This is an unacceptable gap in system safety.”

The NTSB was called in to investigate the January 12, 2015 smoke and electrical arcing incident at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station and found little improvement in the oversight of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority since the 2009 Fort Totten Metrorail accident which killed nine people.

In its safety recommendation letter to the Secretary of Transportation, the NTSB says that many of the 11 investigations of deadly WMATA rail accidents in the past 33 years involved inadequate management of safety operations.

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ABC/Rick Rowell(NEW YORK) — Justin Theroux said marriage to Jennifer Aniston is “fantastic” and really has improved their relationship.

“Something really does shift in a wonderful way and it sort of refocuses things,” The Leftovers star said on Wednesday’s Good Morning America. “And in a weird way it was sort of a long time coming, but also put us in exactly sort of the right space…I don’t know. It’s a wonderful thing, you know?”

Theroux and the Friends star wed August 5 at the couple’s home in Bel Air, Calif. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! host Jimmy Kimmel officiated.

Having Kimmel in that role “was the biggest blessing in the world,” Theroux said, adding: “It was exactly what you would want him to do. He was extremely funny, kept things extremely light, was extremely touching.”

Kimmel even “cried a little bit,” Theroux said. “He did. …everyone did. And it was just, it was the perfect tone for the night.”

With his wedding out of the way, Theroux is set to return to The Leftovers, HBO’s psychological drama that focuses on life following the disappearance of tens of millions of people in the world. On GMA, the actor teased what viewers can expect.

“We moved the show to Texas, a fictional town of Miracle, Texas, where there’s been — I think it’s safe to say — no departures,” Theroux explained. “I’d like to say things normalize but they just get a lot weirder.”

Season two of The Leftovers premieres Sunday, October 4 at 9 p.m. Eastern.

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Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images(KANNAPOLIS, N.C.) – Tony Stewart officially announced his retirement from Sprint Cup racing following the 2016 season at a press conference Wednesday.

The three-time Sprint Cup winner said the choice to retire was “100 percent mine” and had nothing to do with his involvement in the death of driver Kevin Ward Jr. Ward was killed in August of 2014 during a sprint car race.

The 44-year-old Stewart will still race professionally, just not on the Sprint Cup circuit.

Clint Bowyer will take over for Stewart as the driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 car starting in 2017.

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Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, isn’t sure who will succeed him as the party’s standard-bearer in 2016, but he can’t imagine it being front-runner Donald Trump.

“I will support the nominee. I don’t think that’s going to be Donald Trump,” Romney told Atlantic Editor-in-Chief James Bennett at the Washington Ideas Forum on Wednesday.

“My party has historically nominated someone who’s a mainstream conservative, and someone who has a foundation of foreign policy that gives people confidence that can guide ship in a state of troubled waters,” Romney said, adding that Trump’s suggestion on “60 Minutes” that ISIS take over Syria was “absurd and dangerous.”

Romney also seemed to repudiate Trump’s treatment of his fellow candidates on the trail, noting that what Ronald Reagan called the 11th Commandment – never criticize another Republican – has clearly fallen by the wayside, which he said makes it harder for the party to win the general election. He said Trump’s criticism put other candidates in an uncomfortable position because they don’t get anywhere by ignoring the New York real estate mogul.

“They are coming back strong and standing up for themselves,” he said of the other candidates.

As for Trump’s view of Romney, he said in January that the former Massachusetts governor “failed” in the 2012 election.

“He choked,” Trump said at the Iowa Freedom Summit. “He had that election won.”

Romney, who hasn’t made an endorsement, listed John Kasich, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush as mainstream conservatives, adding that Carly Fiorina could fit in that category if she “elucidates more on her policy positions.”

“I think each of them has staked out a territory which is not extreme and so I don’t think I’d conclude it’s impossible to win the general election,” Romney told the Atlantic. “As a matter of fact I think we will win the general election in part because we have such strong and capable people as the ones I’ve mentioned.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Party leaders appear to be on the verge of keeping their promise of avoiding a government shutdown Wednesday afternoon — at least for the time being.

Congress is expected to pass a short-term spending bill by Wednesday evening to avert a shutdown at midnight, when the new fiscal year begins.

The Senate passed a continuing resolution Wednesday morning that will fund the government at previous years’ levels. The House will begin debate on the measure in the afternoon, followed by a vote.

The must-pass bill will keep the government open until Dec. 11, setting up a showdown in Congress down the road on several fronts.

The fiercest is expected to be over long-term government funding. The Obama administration and Democrats want to lift sequester spending caps on defense and domestic spending, while Republicans want to keep spending in check.

Another looming standoff is over the debt ceiling. The United States government will soon lose the ability to borrow money, forcing Congress to hold a vote on raising the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently informed Congress that the government won’t be able to pay its bills after October.

A summer patch in infrastructure funding is also set to expire on Oct. 29, when money will run out in the federal fund that pays for highway repair projects. Lawmakers are working on a proposal to pay for long-term infrastructure funding through international tax code reform.

Congressional leaders are preparing for budget negotiations to address the looming funding cliff and spending deadlines.

Democratic leaders recently met with President Obama, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that Republicans are preparing for negotiations.

“The president and Speaker Boehner and I spoke about getting started on the discussions last week,” McConnell said. “I would expect them to start very soon.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who made a surprise announcement on Friday saying he would resign from Congress on Oct. 30, has not said whether the House will vote on raising the debt ceiling or tackle any other big-ticket items before he leaves Congress. But he has said he doesn’t want his successor to inherit a “dirty barn.”

“If there’s a way to get things done so I don’t burden my successor, I’ll get them finished,” he said Tuesday.

While Democrats have signaled their willingness to work with Boehner, conservatives eyeing his lieutenants closely ahead of leadership elections could make it difficult for Republicans to compromise before the threat of another deadline.

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

For many parents, getting their kids to eat isn’t just a food fight, it’s an all out war. But a new study finds that the struggle might not just be about taste.

Researchers found that severely picky eaters were more likely to exhibit increased symptoms of anxiety, social anxiety and depression.

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, also found that selective eating in younger years may even predict psychological issues later on.

So what can you do to get your picky eater to open wide?

Don’t make a big deal about trying new foods. If you do bring it up, try to make it into a game or a joke — just make it fun.

And lastly, let your child see you eating new things, too.

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Facebook(NEW YORK) — A short looping video showing off your personality could soon be the star of your Facebook profile.

Facebook is beginning tests Wednesday for new ways for users to dress up their profiles, including the addition of a profile video letting users “show a part of yourself you couldn’t before, and add a (literal!) new dimension to your profile,” a newsroom post said.

Facebook product managers Aigerim Shorman and Tony Hsieh said user profiles are viewed more than four billion times per day, making them a crucial part of how a person expresses who they are online.

Along with the option for a fun looping video, the team at Facebook has also decided to focus on profile photos.

“Profile pictures are not just static portraits. They represent what’s going on in your life right now and what’s important to you, and we want to give people the tools to better express themselves in this way,” Shorman and Hsieh wrote in a post.

Facebook will roll out the ability to set a temporary profile photo which can revert back to another at a specified time, making it even easier to support your team leading up to a game or to show support for an important cause.

“It can be a visual status update to let you friends know what’s going on in your life today, or it can be a moment of solidarity for a cause you feel strongly about,” Shorman and Hsieh wrote.

The other big change includes improved profile controls, letting a user do as much or as little as they want with a customizable space at the top of their profile, which will have room for a one-line biography and as many as five featured photos. Mobile users can also expect a big design change with profile photos moving front and center, making more room for the new features, should they choose to include them.

While the word is officially out on the fancy new window dressings, Faceboook said they’re currently only available to iPhone users in California and the United Kingdom and will be rolled out to more people soon.

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