Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Mountain Home VA Medical Center


Leadership Team

Portrait of David S. Hecht. M.D., MBA

David S. Hecht. M.D., MBA | (423) 926-1171 x7102

Acting Medical Center Director

On September 28, 2016, David S. Hecht, MD, MBA, was appointed as Acting Medical Center Director of the Mountain Home VA Healthcare System (MHVAHCS).

Dr. Hecht has served as the system’s Chief of Staff since July 1, 2012. As the Acting Medical Center Director, Dr. Hecht has the overall responsibility for efficient management and operation of the general medical and surgical hospital with 104 medical, surgical, and psychiatric beds, a 120-bed nursing home care unit, a 150-bed domiciliary, an outpatient clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee, six Outpatient Clinics and three Rural Outreach Clinics. The James H. Quillen VA Medical Center at Mountain Home is a tertiary care, teaching hospital that provides a full range of patient care services with state of the art technology as well as education and research. The close and collaborative affiliation with the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Quillen College of Medicine and ETSU Gatton School of Pharmacy, which is entirely housed on the west end of the VA campus, provides a healthcare environment of innovation and quality.

Dr. Hecht graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in psychology in 1992 and from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1996. He completed his General Surgery Residency at the University of Florida, Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida in 2001 where he was Chief Resident and received the Emmett F. Ferguson, Jr., Award for Outstanding Surgical Resident. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In December 2009, he completed the Physician Executive MBA Program at the University of Tennessee.

Prior to coming to VAMC, he was CEO of Mountain Empire Medical and Surgical Associates, PLLC, a multi-specialty private practice in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Dr. Hecht joined James H. Quillen VAMC as Chief of General Surgery section in August 2008, and was appointed Chief of Surgery in July 2010.

Photo not available

Heidi S. Vermette, M.D. | (423) 926-1171 x7116

Acting Chief of Staff

Heidi S. Vermette was named Acting Chief of Staff effective September 28, 2016. In this role, Dr. Vermette is responsible for all clinical issues that affect the medical staff and for overseeing the clinical, teaching, and research services provided by it. In addition, she serves as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry for the East Tennessee State University’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Vermette held the position of Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health at the Mountain Home VA Healthcare System. During her tenure at the MHVAHCS, she participated in the opening of six community based outpatient clinics, started the facility telehealth program, worked to transition outpatient mental health services into a team-based care model, and mentored staff interested in developing leadership skills.

Dr. Vermette started her VA career as a staff psychiatrist at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2004. She moved to Tennessee in 2008 after being selected as the Assistant Chief for Psychiatry. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 1993 with a BS in Biology and Texas Tech University in 1997 with an MD. She completed a residency in Psychiatry and fellowship in Law and Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts and is board certified in both general and forensic psychiatry.

Prior to joining the VA, Dr. Vermette published and presented nationally in the area of police and correctional officer training. As the granddaughter of a World War II Veteran and the daughter of a Navy Veteran, she is grateful for the opportunity to serve our Nation’s Veterans through her work at the VA.

Photo not available

Deborah Shell, RN, MSN, OCN, NE-BC | (423) 926-1171, x7213

Acting Associate Director for Patient Care/Nursing Services

Deborah Shell was appointed as the Acting Associate Director for Patient Care/Nursing at the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center in September 2016. Ms. Shell provides oversight and leadership for Nursing, Social Work, Chaplain, Education and Staff Development, and Sterile Processing Services.

Ms. Shell has functioned in a variety of leadership and administrative roles in private sector facilities and within the Mountain Home VA Healthcare System. She has more than 27 years of experience in nursing and administration. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Oncology Nursing Society.

Ms. Shell earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and her Master of Science Degree in Nursing from East Tennessee State University. She is certified as a Nurse Executive from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and as an Oncology Certified Nurse from the Oncology Nursing Society.

Photo not available

Jonathan Pollitte, M.D. | 423-926-1171, x2350

Chief, Emergency Department

Photo not available

Kevin Milliken | 423-926-1171

Chief, Facilities Management

Photo not available

Angela Mullins-Allen | 423-926-1171, x 7620

Privacy Officer

Photo not available

Lonnie Hatton | 423-926-1171

Lead Patient Advocate