Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC names new CEO

Dr. Paul Conway
Dr. Paul Conway Handout

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has turned to the federal Medicare/Medicaid program to replace its longtime CEO Brad Wilson.

The Durham-based health insurer has named Dr. Patrick Conway, 42, its new president and CEO. Conway is currently the deputy administrator for innovation and quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ and director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

His role at CMS is the most senior, nonpolitical executive position, according to Blue Cross.

He will join Blue Cross NC as president and CEO-elect on Oct. 1. Wilson, who announced his retirement in February, will remain CEO long enough to ensure an effective transition, according to the company.

“Dr. Conway is a national and international leader in health system transformation, quality, and innovation,” Blue Cross NC board of trustees chair Frank Holding Jr., said in a statement. “His unique experiences as a health care provider and as a leader of the world’s largest health care payer will help Blue Cross NC fulfill its mission to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities.”

Conway has been a proponent of CMS’s push to tie health care reimbursements to quality and innovation.

“Blue Cross NC’s role in transforming the health care system in North Carolina is a model that other plans aspire to and that I want to work with the Blue Cross NC team to further improve,” Conway said in a statement. “I look forward to collaborating with Blue Cross NC employees, health care providers and employers to deliver the best health outcomes and best service experience at the lowest cost for our customers.”

Conway is also a practicing pediatric hospitalist – a doctor who cares for you while you’re hospitalized. He did his pediatrics residency at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital Boston, graduated with high honors from Baylor College of Medicine, and summa cum laude from Texas A&M University.

Conway joined CMS in 2011 as the agency’s chief medical officer and in 2014 was elected to the National Academy of Medicine Institute of Medicine.

Before joining CMS, Conway oversaw clinical operations and research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Mary Cornatzer: 919-829-4755, @mcornatzer