'Forms can be complicated,' board says over past UNC Health CEO's failure to disclose conflicts of interest

The University of North Carolina System board chair is not concerned over reports that former UNC Health Care System CEO William Roper, MD, failed to disclose potential conflicts of interest on state ethics forms, according to The News & Observer.

Dr. Roper is interim president of UNC. A report from local news station WBTV found Dr. Roper did not disclose his corporate board involvement in forms filed between 2011 and 2019. During his time on these boards, the companies had business relationships with UNC Health Care and/or the state. He served as CEO of UNC Health Care from 2004 to 2019, and he remains on the board of UNC Health Care. He recently amended the filings.

Dr. Roper has served on the board of DaVita since 2002, and through a series of acquisitions, has served on the boards of MedCo, Express Scripts and Cigna. He currently serves on the Cigna board, according to the report.

While the board involvement is legal, WBTV found Dr. Roper did not disclose it on ethics forms as required by the state. He also did not disclose the income he made from those positions except in his 2017 filing. Dr. Roper has made $3.6 million from his service on the DaVita board and at least $1.5 million from the boards of MedCo, Express Scripts and Cigna, according to the report.

In a press release obtained by WBTV, Dr. Roper said: "For the past several years, I have served on the boards of both DaVita, Inc. and of Medco/Express Scripts/Cigna, Inc. I have always publicly disclosed my role, interests and status as a shareholder and option-holder with each of these organizations to UNC Health Care, the UNC School of Medicine and to the UNC System. Further, I have always recused myself from any matters before UNC Health Care, the UNC School of Medicine or the UNC System that might pose a conflict or the appearance of a conflict of interest related to my service with these outside entities."

UNC Board Chairman Harry Smith told The News & Observer he believes the mistakes Dr. Roper made on the forms were unintentional. "Forms can be complicated," he said. "I don't think there was any intent behind that at all."

Read the full WBTV story here.

Read The News & Observer report here.


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