Former NC Blue Cross CEO found guilty of DWI, child abuse

North Carolina

Patrick Conway, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC (Photo: BCBSNC)

ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) — The former CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina was found guilty Tuesday of charges stemming from a car crash on an interstate while his two daughters were in the vehicle.

Patrick Conway was found guilty of driving while impaired and misdemeanor child abuse, news sources reported. Court records show Conway was charged after a June 22 crash on Interstate 85 in Randolph County in which his SUV collided with a tractor-trailer.

Conway’s attorney, Jonathan Megerian, argued that North Carolina child abuse laws aren’t intended to be applied in cases in which children aren’t injured and when the risk of injury is accidental. However, Judge Sarah Neely Lanier ruled Conway guilty on all charges.

Megerian said he will appeal the judge’s verdict.

Conway resigned his position on Sept. 25 amid pressure from North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey to step down. Causey said he’d learned of Conway’s arrest from a news report and accused Blue Cross of trying to conceal what happened.

A statement attributed to the company’s board said that it engaged outside lawyers and other experts to examine the crash immediately after it happened. The board said it asked for Conway’s resignation after more investigative material surfaced.

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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.

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GASTONIA, N.C. (WNCT) – State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey on Wednesday called for the resignation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC CEO, Patrick Conway after the insurance company tried to cover-up Conway’s arrest for drunk driving and child abuse charges in June.

On Wednesday at a press conference in Gastonia, Commissioner Causey said this decision follows his examination of the arrest police report and numerous news reports that showed Conway driving in an erratic way, putting his daughters’ and other drivers’ safety in jeopardy.

The Commissioner issued the following statement:

“When I put my hand on the Holy Bible and took an oath to serve as North Carolina’s Commissioner of Insurance — I promised myself, my staff and the citizens of this state, that honesty will be the top priority, that this office will be accountable to the people we serve, that we will root out corruption and malfeasance, and that leaders lead.

Over the last few days, it has become apparent to me that there has been a significant breakdown in the corporate governance at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

The efforts by the board of directors to hide the arrest of their CEO for drunk driving and child neglect is very disturbing. When news accounts surfaced of the June 22 incident last week, the board misrepresented to the Department of Insurance the actual arrest — telling me that the incident was without incident and was a routine arrest.

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, news reports showed the arrest was anything but routine and Dr. Conway showed a complete lack of professionalism, respect, and composure for the law enforcement officer and the legal process.

The fact that the board represented to this office otherwise is another example of poor judgment and misinformation that cannot be tolerated.

As Commissioner of Insurance, I cannot move forward with any type of trust and confidence in the CEO at BCBS-NC. I believe the board has been seriously misled and that is very troubling to me.

Furthermore, the board has failed in its duties to protect their policyholders. They have failed to be open and honest with their regulators and more importantly with the people of North Carolina. Dr. Conway demonstrated more than poor decision making by putting his own children at risk as well as the lives of other motorists on the road with him that day. Dr. Conway demonstrated a total lack of professionalism and utter disregard and disdain for our hard-working law enforcement community. As a former military police officer in the U.S. Army, this sickens me.

As a result of this lack of leadership and governance by the CEO and Board of Directors, I am today asking for the resignation of Dr. Patrick Conway as CEO for Blue Cross Blue Shield.

I do not take this action lightly.  It pains me greatly because this tragic incident has put a big dent in the reputation of a good company. But there is no path forward for this office to have a trusting, confident and reliable working relationship with the chief executive officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC.

I can deal with the criminal charges, even as disturbing as they are; what I cannot accept is the cover-up, the misrepresentation of facts, the lack of respect for oversight and regulation of the company and lack of respect for law enforcement officers who are only doing their duty.

This is a very serious matter because BCBS-NC is a $10 billion a year company. I call on the board of directors to fulfill their duty and put this matter behind them by finding a new CEO who can step in to provide the leadership and inspiration that the company needs moving forward.”

By law, the Insurance Commissioner cannot force a company to fire an employee, they can only provide strong recommendations.

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ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) — The chief executive of North Carolina’s largest insurer will retain his job despite a drunken driving arrest earlier this summer.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina issued a statement Thursday saying that its president and CEO, Patrick Conway, was in a car accident in June.

News outlets report that court records show Conway was involved in a June crash on Interstate 85 in Randolph County. No one was injured, but Conway’s two daughters were in the car at the time; he was charged with driving while impaired and misdemeanor child abuse.

A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8.

In its statement Blue Cross said its board of trustees has reviewed the incident and decided to retain Conway, citing his leadership skills.

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