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Local & Regional Briefs for Tuesday, March 25

School Bus Driver Arrested In Hartford, Charged With DUI

Hartford — Police arrested a Butler’s Bus Service driver on Monday on a suspected DUI charge.

Hartford police took Carl Lupton, of Bethel, into custody for allegedly operating a school bus with children on board while being above the legal blood alcohol limit for a bus driver, according to a news release.

The arrest was made after police received a complaint from the bus company.

“Consumption was alleged to have been last night,” Hartford Deputy Chief of Police Brad Vail said in an email on Monday. “There was no evidence” that Lupton was drinking on the job, Vail wrote.

The legal allowable limit for a school bus driver is 0.02 percent. The release stated an individual with Butler’s Bus Service first tested Lupton for a suspected DUI before contacting police.

Carla Benson, a manager in Butler’s Hartford office, declined to comment.

Lupton, 57, is scheduled to appear in Windsor Superior Court on April 1 at 8 a.m., according to the news release.

This is the second case in seven months where a Butler’s Bus Service driver was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.

The bus company fired Kent Quillia, 59, of Hartford, when a test showed his blood alcohol level was 0.19 shortly after driving students from Hartford to Bethel on Sept. 20.

Quillia pleaded guilty on Feb. 5 to gross negligent operation of a vehicle and reckless endangerment charges. He is prohibited from drinking alcohol or driving a commercial vehicle for two years and was given 30 days on a work crew.

Working Group to Review N.H. Provider Network Rules

Concord (ap) — The New Hampshire Insurance Department is taking the first step toward changing how it decides whether insurance companies are offering adequate networks of doctors and other providers.

The department said Monday it will hold an organizational meeting April 23 for a working group that will review the state’s network adequacy rules and make recommendations to the Legislature.

Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny first mentioned the working group last month, at a public hearing requested by Frisbie Memorial Hospital. The Rochester facility is one of 10 New Hampshire hospitals excluded from the provider network for policies purchased under the federal health care overhaul law.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is currently the sole company selling health plans through the new online marketplace, though two more are expected to join next year. The insurance department on Monday issued a license to Minuteman Health, a new Massachusetts-based nonprofit cooperative hoping to offer coverage through the marketplace. Harvard Pilgrim, already licensed in the state, also is expected to begin offering plans in 2015.

Though patients and some hospitals have complained, Anthem and the insurance department say the company’s network meets or exceeds all state adequacy standards. Anthem officials have said that including all hospitals would have driven up premiums because network hospitals agreed to reimbursement rate concessions in exchange for the promise of a certain volume of patients. Frisbie Hospital officials counter that they would have been willing to accept low reimbursement rates but weren’t even given a chance to negotiate.

The hospital wants Sevigny to order Anthem to negotiate with all willing providers. Sevigny has declined to do so, but said the working group could result in rules changes that would become effective in 2016.

“We understand that there are concerns from citizens about how health insurance companies are able to choose providers within their networks,” he said. “We plan to look carefully at our network adequacy standards in view of new legal requirements, changes in medical practice, and the need to encourage more competition in our health insurance markets. We are committed to engaging in this discussion in an open, transparent manner.”

Bail Set at $1.5M for N.H. Man Charged in Police Cruiser Crashes

Salem, n.h. (ap) — Bail has been set at $1.5 million for a New Hampshire man accused of crashing into three police cruisers during a pursuit, causing minor injuries to two Salem officers.

Thirty-year-old Luis Figueroa was arraigned by video Monday in 10th Circuit Court on 17 counts, including reckless conduct and second-degree assault charges. It wasn’t immediately known if he had a lawyer.

The Eagle-Times reports prosecutor Jason Grosky requested the high bail, citing Figueroa’s criminal background and saying that Figueroa was able to post $125,000 cash bail following his arrest in a case in 2012.

— Staff and Wire reports