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NC Blue Cross CEO resigns after DWI charge

Associated Press

RALEIGH — The chief executive officer of Blue Cross North Carolina has resigned amid pressure from the state’s top insurance regulator after the executive was charged with DWI.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s dominant health insurer, said in a statement late Wednesday that the company’s board requested and received Patrick Conway’s resignation.

The statement attributed to the company’s board said it engaged outside lawyers and other experts to examine the June 22 crash on Interstate 85 in Randolph County immediately after it happened. The board said it asked for his resignation after more investigative material surfaced.

“As a mission-driven organization, BlueCross NC is committed to doing business with honesty, integrity and fairness. The details that recently emerged related to Dr. Conway’s arrest depict behavior that falls short of our standards,” the board said in the statement released about 11 p.m. Wednesday.

The board named Gerald Petkau, who has served as chief operating officer, as interim CEO.

The board’s decision came hours after state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey asked Conway to step down. Causey said he learned of Conway’s arrest from a news report and accused Blue Cross of trying to conceal what happened.

Court records show Conway was charged with driving while impaired and misdemeanor child abuse after a June 22 crash. No one was injured, but Conway’s two daughters were in the car. He has a hearing next month.

An investigative report of the accident obtained by WRAL-TV and written by the Archdale police investigating officer said Conway had bloodshot eyes and a strong odor of alcohol at the scene and became “absolutely belligerent” at the police headquarters.

After the board announced his resignation, Conway issued a statement saying he’s “ashamed, embarrassed and sorry about my actions.” He said he disclosed what happened to the company immediately and completed an inpatient substance abuse treatment program.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield also administers the health insurance plan for hundreds of thousands of state employees, teachers, retirees and their families. The company announced Tuesday that it would put on “temporary hold” its previously announced combination with Cambia Health Solutions. The two not-for-profit companies insure more than 6 million people combined in North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Idaho and Washington.

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