RALEIGH — The state insurance commissioner has asked that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina replace its president and CEO with an interim leader until all alcohol-related driving charges are resolved.
News surfaced last week that Patrick Conway, 45 and head of the state's largest insurer, was arrested in June on charges of driving while impaired and misdemeanor child abuse after an accident on Interstate 85 with his two daughters in the car. A police affidavit described him having bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and being unsteady on his feet.
In a Friday letter to BCBS board Chairman Frank Holding Jr., Commissioner Mike Causey called the charges "alarming."
"What is even more alarming is the appearance that the board and executive team worked to hide the arrest from the public's attention," Causey wrote, "then was almost dismissive of the troubling charges when reported in the news media."
"One would expect the board and executive team ..." Causey continued, "to be much more accountable, responsible and transparent to their policyholders and to the public at large. With health insurance being a top issue in our nation and our state, North Carolina consumers need to have utmost confidence in their leaders at this critical time."
No one was injured in the June crash. Conway refused a breathalyzer test at the scene and his driver's license was revoked for 30 days. A court date is scheduled in October.
The insurer did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Causey's letter. In a statement last week, BCBS said the board immediately set up a committee to handle the situation and 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," it continued.
Conway came to the Durham-based health insurer in 2017, previously serving as deputy administrator for innovation and quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.
The N.C. Department of Insurance regulates the state's insurance industry, licenses agents and handles complaints. Causey has been commissioner since 2017.
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