Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina's CEO Dr. Patrick Conway resigned on Thursday amid mounting backlash over his arrest in an alcohol-related car accident and criticism over how the company handled the situation.
In a statement, the North Carolina insurer's board of trustees said it asked Dr. Patrick Conway for his resignation after new details emerged, including notes from arresting officers and information from their investigative files. The board named chief operating officer Gerald Petkau as interim CEO.
"The details that recently emerged related to Dr. Conway's arrest depict behavior that falls short of our standards," the board said. "Despite Dr. Conway's many successes during his tenure at Blue Cross NC, we feel that our constituents are best served by naming an interim CEO and beginning a formal search for a permanent replacement."
News surfaced last week that Conway had been put on temporary leave after being charged with driving while impaired and misdemeanor child abuse after the June 22 accident, but had been reinstated after a board review.
The state's insurance commissioner had criticized how Blue Cross North Carolina handled the situation, urging the insurer to replace Conway until the charges were resolved. The insurer publicly acknowledged the situation only after it was revealed in local news reports.
On Wednesday, the North Carolina insurer and Portland, Ore.-based Cambia Health Solutions put their proposed affiliation on hold.
Conway, who is a former CMS deputy administrator, on Thursday morning tweeted he is "ashamed, embarrassed and sorry" about the accident. He wrote that he immediately disclosed the accident to the board, stepped down and completed inpatient substance use treatment and is now 90 days sober. He complained that he had been "tried and convicted in the media."
"Anyone seeking substance use treatment & recovery should be celebrated. Not judged and punished," he wrote. "I have worked on mental and behavioral health issues for years as part of a better health system for all. I will continue my mission to change health care in America for the better. I have been honored to help millions of people over my career. Nothing can diminish that."