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Patrick Conway is leaving CMS to head Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina

As director of CMS' Innovation Center, Conway has helped lead the transition to value-based care.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Patrick Conway, MD, is leaving the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to become president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the insurer announced today.

He will join the company on October 1.

Conway currently serves as CMS' chief medical officer, deputy administrator for Innovation and Quality, and director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

As head of CMS's Innovation Center, Conway has helped lead the transition to value-based care.

"His unique experiences as a healthcare provider and as a leader of the world's largest health care payor will help Blue Cross NC fulfill its mission to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities," said Frank Holding Jr., chair of the  BCBS North Carolina Board of Trustees.

[Also: Tom Price says CMMI 'off track,' hints at changes to programs]

Conway said, "Blue Cross NC's role in transforming the healthcare 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. 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 currently serves as the most senior, non-political executive at CMS, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina. He has worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations and is respected in a bipartisan manner, BCBS North Carolina said.

Current President and CEO Brad Wilson will remain CEO during a transition period.

"At this important time in healthcare and health insurance transformation, Dr. Conway brings a unique background and perspective to our company and state," Wilson said.

[Also: North Carolina Republican Representative Mark Meadows pushes more conservative GOP healthcare bill]

Conway joined CMS in 2011 as the agency's chief medical officer. In 2014, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine Institute of Medicine, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement.

Conway is a practicing pediatric hospitalist and was selected as a master of Hospital Medicine from the Society of Hospital Medicine. He has received the President's Distinguished Senior Executive Rank and Health and Human Services Secretary's Distinguished Service awards.

He is a former White House Fellow and Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar.

Prior to joining CMS, Conway served as director of Hospital Medicine for Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and as a private sector consultant for McKinsey & Company.

He completed his pediatrics residency at Harvard Medical School's Children's Hospital Boston, graduated with high honors from Baylor College of Medicine, and graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M University.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has 3.9 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue plans.

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