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Blue Cross names top federal health care official as CEO

Posted August 8

Dr. Patrick Conway

— Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina on Tuesday named a top official in the federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services as the company's next president and chief executive.

Dr. Patrick Conway will start at Blue Cross on Oct. 1, succeeding Brad Wilson, who announced in February he would retire late this year after seven years in charge of North Carolina's largest health insurer.

Conway is deputy administrator for innovation and quality at CMS – the most senior non-political executive at the agency – and director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. He is one of the driving forces behind the national movement to value-based care, with health care payments tied to quality and innovation.

"Dr. Conway is a national and international leader in health system transformation, quality and innovation," Frank Holding Jr., chairman of Blue Cross' Board of Trustees, 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."

A practicing pediatric hospitalist, Conway joined CMS in 2011 as chief medical officer. He previously oversaw clinical operations and research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine Institute of Medicine in 2014 and has received the President’s Distinguished Senior Executive Rank and HHS Secretary’s Distinguished Service awards.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University, graduated from Baylor College of Medicine and completed a pediatrics residency at Harvard Medical School's Children's Hospital Boston.

"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."

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