N.C. Blue Cross CEO faces impaired driving charges with kids present

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The chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s dominant health insurer, faces charges of driving while impaired related to a June accident while driving on Interstate 85 in Randolph County.

Patrick Conway, 45, was driving a Cadillac Escalade that collided with a Harris Teeter LLC semi-trailer at about 4 p.m. on June 22, according to reports filed by the Archdale Police Department. Conway was suspected of alcohol impairment, but refused a breathalyzer test, the report notes.

Patrick ConwayBlue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

He was later taken to the department office, then Randolph County Jail before being released on $2,500 bond after the court issued a release at about midnight.

Conway’s daughters, both under age 10, were in the car with him, prompting two “misdemeanor child abuse” charges, a court filing shows. Those charges are standard in such cases. Other charges filed in N.C. District Court include failure to maintain lane control, civil revocation of a drivers’ license for 30 days and reckless driving.

A District Court session on the charges is scheduled for Oct. 8 at the Randolph County Courthouse in Asheboro.

In a prepared statement, Blue Cross said Conway immediately notified the insurer’s Board of Trustees of the incident in June. The board then set up a committee, hired outside counsel and experts. “After careful consideration, the Board of Trustees decided that Patrick’s strong leadership will continue to be an asset and he will remain as President and CEO,” according to the statement. “Patrick has been a great leader.”

Archdale Police Chief Shannon Craddock declined to discuss the matter, noting it remains under investigation. Department policy prohibits the arresting officer from commenting, he adds.

There were no injuries. Conway’s car suffered about $6,000 of estimate damage, while the truck incurred $1,200, the police report shows.

Conway, a pediatrician who lives in Raleigh and works occasionally at Triangle hospitals, became Blue Cross’s president and CEO in December 2017, succeeding Brad Wilson. Blue Cross had revenue of  $9.9 billion last year and its 3.7 million members make up more than a third of the state’s population.

He previously was Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency’s most senior nonpolitical leader. A recent New York Times story cited Conway as a leading national force in the push for value-based care that ties health care payments to effectiveness in treating patients. He is scheduled as the keynote speaker at an N.C. Chamber health conference in Raleigh Friday.

Conway is overseeing a proposed combination of Blue Cross with Oregon-based Cambia Health Solutions, pending approvals by N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and other regulators. The two companies have joint revenue of $16 billion. Conway is slated to lead the combined entity, though the N.C. Blue Cross will remain a separate company. No money is changing hands in the transaction between the two not-for-profit organizations.

Here is the full statement from Blue Cross:

“Early this summer, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina’s President and CEO Patrick Conway was involved in a traffic accident where he was suspected to be impaired and charged with related offenses. No one was injured in the accident. Patrick immediately made the Board of Trustees aware of the situation.

Our Board takes this matter very seriously. Upon learning of the incident in June, it immediately established a committee within the Board to review the situation, and engaged outside counsel and experts to aid the process. After careful consideration, the Board of Trustees decided that Patrick’s strong leadership will continue to be an asset and he will remain as President and CEO.

Patrick has been a great leader of BlueCross NC, fighting to improve the quality of health services, lower costs, and deliver an overall exceptional experience for our customers. As an organization, we remain focused on our mission to serve the customers and communities that we live and work in.”

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