Blue Cross NC CEO resigns following DWI arrest, interim CEO named

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – The CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has resigned following a June impaired-driving arrest, according to a statement issued Wednesday night.

Dr. Patrick Conway is charged with driving while impaired and misdemeanor child abuse following a June crash in Randolph County. No one was injured, but Conway’s two daughters were in the car.

The board of trustees asked Conway for his resignation, which he issued effective immediately.

COO Gerald Petkau will serve as the interim CEO.

Gerald Petkau

“We feel that our constituents are best served by naming an interim CEO and beginning a formal search for a permanent replacement,” the statement read in part.

“We are confident that the transition will be smooth, and that Gerald Petkau will continue to lead the fight to improve the quality of health services, lower costs, and deliver an overall exceptional experience for our members.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s dominant health insurer, also administers the health insurance plan for hundreds of thousands of state employees, teachers, retirees and their families.

The statement in its entirety:

Immediately following Dr. Conway’s accident, the BlueCross NC Board of Trustees began reviewing and monitoring the situation, with the help of outside counsel and other experts. As a part of its work, the specially convened committee of the Board reviewed public records and officer affidavits regarding the accident and arrest. However, new details have come to light, particularly notes from the arresting officers and contents from their investigative files of which the board was unaware. Based on this, the Board of Trustees gathered today to reexamine the situation and determine a course of action.

The BlueCross NC Board of Trustees has asked Dr. Conway for his resignation. Dr. Conway accepted the request and has issued his resignation effective immediately.

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. Despite Dr. Conway’s many successes during his tenure at BlueCross NC, we feel that our constituents are best served by naming an interim CEO and beginning a formal search for a permanent replacement.

As such, Chief Operating Officer Gerald Petkau will be the interim Chief Executive Officer of BlueCross NC, effective immediately. We are confident that the transition will be smooth, and that Gerald Petkau will continue to lead the fight to improve the quality of health services, lower costs, and deliver an overall exceptional experience for our members.

We hope that this action begins to rebuild a trusting relationship with our regulators and customers.

Conway also issued a statement following his resignation:

Throughout my life, I have been dedicated to one thing: helping people live longer, happier and better lives through access to affordable healthcare. Today, I am ashamed, embarrassed and sorry about my actions on June 22nd. I am especially sorry for the pain I have caused my family, friends and colleagues. I have never had an incident like this before and it is not consistent with who I am as a father, husband and community member. Following the incident, I immediately disclosed what happened to the Blue Cross North Carolina Board, stepped down from my daily duties and voluntarily and successfully completed 30 days of inpatient substance use treatment. However, I also understand that I must continue to work hard to earn back the trust I’ve lost based on my actions. I therefore am resigning my position as CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and will continue to respect and honor the legal process. In time, I look forward to continuing my work ensuring everyone has access to high quality, affordable healthcare.”

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