N.D. Blues President Allowed to Keep Job, Undergoing Alcohol Treatment

May 11, 2006

The president of North Dakota’s largest health insurance provider will be allowed to keep his job under certain conditions, after pleading guilty to drunken driving, the insurer’s board chairman says.

Michael Unhjem, president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, says he has agreed to the board’s conditions and vows to stay out of trouble.

Unhjem pleaded guilty to drunken driving last month in Moorhead, Minn., and was fined $500. He was charged after a March 28 traffic stop by police who were investigating a burglary report.

The Blues board reviewed the incident. Dr. Robert Grossman of Hettinger, the board chairman, said Wednesday that Unhjem has accepted full responsibility for his actions. Unhjem said he is meeting with executive Blues staff members to review any questions they might have.

Unhjem said that he has already completed the evaluation process for alcohol dependency, and is in the course of treatment recommended by the evaluator. He added that he is meeting all of the executive staff members at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and all of its affiliated companies, on a one-on-one basis, to review any concerns they may have.

Grossman said Unhjem was warned that he could be fired for another such incident.

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