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The Daily Tar Heel

Ousted Blue Cross CEO still eligible to treat UNC Hospitals children after charges


Patrick Conway mugshot; June 22, 2019 – photo courtesy of Randolph County Sheriff’s Office 

Editor's note: Patrick Conway was found guilty on charges of driving while impaired and misdemeanor child abuse Tuesday at his trial in Randolph County Courthouse, as first reported by He won’t face prison time, WXII12 reported, but his attorneys said the case will be appealed. 

Patrick Conway was ousted from his role as CEO of North Carolina's largest health insurer last month, but his ability to practice as a pediatrician at UNC Hospitals' N.C. Children's Hospital presently remains intact.

Conway stepped down from his role as chief of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina after details emerged publicly of his arrest for DWI and misdemeanor child abuse this past summer. Those charges came after Conway drunkenly crashed his car with his two young daughters in the backseat.

However, Conway is still listed as an inpatient doctor in the hospital pediatrics section of the UNC Children’s website.

“Dr. Conway has privileges and works occasional shifts at UNC Medical Center, but hasn’t worked a shift since May,” UNC Health Care spokesperson Alan Wolf said in an email.

Jean Fisher Brinkley, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Medical Board, said she couldn't confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into Conway's status as a licensed physician.

“I can tell you that Dr. Patrick Conway currently has an active North Carolina medical license,” Brinkley said.

The N.C. Medical Board’s policy is to investigate if it has information that a licensee has committed a crime or engaged in unprofessional or unlawful activity. The process of investigation and revision takes an average of 90 days to complete, Brinkley said.

Conway's arrest occurred on June 22, nearly 110 days from the time of publication. His court date is scheduled for Oct. 8.

Conway did not respond to multiple requests for comment through his lawyer, Thomas Walker.

The former Blue Cross CEO said in a series of Twitter posts after stepping down that he has completed 30 days of inpatient substance use treatment since his arrest, adding that he had been sober for "over 90 days," but that he had already been "tried and convicted" in the media.

Prior to his arrest, Conway balanced his CEO position with working periodically as a pediatrician at UNC Children's, a role he began shortly after joining Blue Cross in October 2017.

“Dr. Conway’s work at UNC Children’s Hospital was on his personal time, not related to his work while at Blue Cross N.C.,” said David Kochman, the health insurer's vice president of communications, in an email. “We were aware of his work there, but not involved in it.”

Conway resigned from the helm of Blue Cross late last month at the urging of the company’s board of trustees. The board originally decided to keep Conway as CEO when they first learned of the charges, but changed course after reviewing public records of the arrest.

“New details have come to light, particularly notes from the arresting officers and contents from their investigative files of which the board was unaware,” Blue Cross said in a statement.

According to an incident report written by Archdale Police officer Z.R. Livingston, Conway was arrested on Interstate 85 in Randolph County. He was reported to the police by a witness, who said Conway had “bizarre, erratic driving behavior” and crossed over all three highway lanes before crashing into a tractor trailer.

At the Archdale Police Department, Conway refused a blood alcohol level test, according to the incident report. 

During this time, Conway was described as “absolutely belligerent” while kicking and yelling in his holding cell.

“During the ride from the PD to Randolph County Jail, Conway repeatedly threatened me by saying the following: ‘You had a choice, you could have let me go. You don’t know who I am. I am a doctor, a (chief officer) of a company. I’ll call Gov. Cooper and get you in trouble,’” Livingston stated in the incident report.

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