Medical Center Director
Ms. Wendy J. Hepker was appointed as Medical Center Director for the Chillicothe VA Medical Center effective June 17, 2012. As the VAMC Director she serves as the chief executive for the Chillicothe VAMC a level 2 complexity, 297 bed facility offering primary and secondary medical services, extended care and comprehensive mental health services through its main campus operations and five Community Based Outpatient Clinics and one Outreach Clinic it operates. The Chillicothe VAMC serves approximately 30,000 Veterans with a wide array of programs and serves as a clinical training site through a wide variety of academic affiliations.
Ms. Hepker previously served as the Deputy Network Director for the VA Southwest Health Care Network (VISN 18) functionally serving as the chief operating officer for Veterans Affairs healthcare services for Veterans living across the Southwest, including the VA Health Care Systems in Arizona (Phoenix, Prescott, and Tucson), New Mexico (Albuquerque), and West Texas (Amarillo, Big Spring, and El Paso). In fiscal year 2011, the Network provided services for 247,000 unique patients, encompassing more than 28,000 episodes of inpatient care and 3 million outpatient visits, with a workforce of more than 10,000 employees and a budget of nearly $1.9 billion.
Ms. Hepker's career includes appointments as Interim Director for the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, GA and service with the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System as the Interim Director and Associate Director. She also served as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Corporate Senior Executive Management Office as a SESCDP Development Assignment.
Ms. Hepker received her Master's in Social Work, with credentials in health care, mental health and public programs management, from Walla Walla College in 1990. She is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and was the 2006 recipient of the ACHE VA Regents Early Careerist
Lorraine M. Conn, MSQA, CSSBB, VHA-CM was appointed Associate Medical Center Director for the Chillicothe VA Medical Center effective November 18, 2013. She is an Air Force Veteran and has been with the VA since 1999. She served as the Chief Medical Technologist and Laboratory Manager at the VA San Diego Health Care System; the Assistant Chief of Quality Management; the Executive Assistant to the Director; and the Chief of Management Support and Public Affairs Officer at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS). In that position, Mrs. Conn provided leadership and oversight to a variety of programs including Emergency Management; Lean and Systems Redesign; Facilities and Strategic Planning; Veteran-Centered Care; DSS; VERA and Data Analytics.
Mrs. Conn has played a key role on a variety of national and VISN committees to include the National Professional Standards Board for Medical Technologists, VISN 22 Integrated Pathology Committee, Joint VA/DOD Integration Committee, VISN 18 Rural Health and American Indian Committee and the VISN 18 Continuous Improvement/Systems Redesign Committee.
Mrs. Conn carries certifications as a Six Sigma Black Belt from the American Society of Quality and as a Medical Technologist from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. She achieved fellow status as a certified mentor (VHA-CM), and completed a Health Care Analytics Certification Program through University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Ms. Conn was selected as the VFW Hospital Employee of the Year in 2010, and was instrumental in the SAVAHCS receiving the R. W. Carey Trophy Award for Performance Excellence. Mrs. Conn earned a Bachelor's Degree in Natural Science and Mathematics from the Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, NJ and holds a Master's Degree in Quality Assurance from California State University, Dominguez Hills, CA.
Chief of Staff
Dr. Deborah Meesig joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in March, 2008, as the Chief of Staff. Dr. Meesig has a law degree and experience in complex matrix environment with clinical quality, patient safety, medication safety, performance improvement, and hospital operations. She is skilled in facilitating multidisciplinary teams with extensive experience in peer review, utilization review, physician credentialing and case management. She has hospital experience in medical risk management and compliance with healthcare laws and hospital regulations. Dr. Meesig has more than ten years of experience in private practice and 15 years in medical administration. She is board certified in Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery and a Member of the Ohio Bar.
Dr. Meesig has previously worked as a staff physician at St. Ann's Hospital in Westerville, Ohio, as well as practicing general and colorectal surgery in a private practice. She also has administrative experience through positions such as Vice President of Medical Affairs at Grant Medical Center and Associate Medical Director of Quality and Resource Management at Grant/Riverside Methodist Hospitals.
Dr. Meesig's degrees include: BS in Medical Technology from The Ohio State University School of Allied Medical Professionals, MD from The Ohio State University Medical School, Certificate of Medical Management from Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina, and J.D., Order of the Curia, from Capital University Law School. She has completed a Residency in General Surgery at The Ohio State University Hospitals and a Residency in Colorectal Surgery at Grant Medical Center.
Associate Director Patient Care
Dr. Yerardi has been with the Department of Veterans Affairs for over 30 years. During her tenure at the Chillicothe VA Medical Center, she has served as staff nurse in areas of psychiatry, long term care, acute medicine, and critical care; nurse manager of a 20 bed Respiratory Care Unit; nurse instructor; Assistant Chief, Nursing Service for Acute Care; Quality Assurance coordinator; Associate Chief Nurse for Operations; and Chief Nurse Executive. She now serves in the role of Associate Medical Center Director for Patient Care.
Dr. Yerardi is a native of McArthur, Ohio, and graduated from Vinton County Consolidated High School. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing; she completed the Master of Science Degree program in nursing from The Ohio State University, and completed a Doctorate in Philosophy with major field of study in nursing and cognate in health promotion. She is active in community organizations including the American Lung Association and community nursing colleges. She received national recognition in 2003 for her numerous hours and efforts as a volunteer for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Dr. Yerardi served in the Ohio National Guard for 28 years. She now serves as a Colonel in the Army Reserve Reinforcement Group. She is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College.
Deputy Chief of Staff
Dr. Jeffrey Hunter has been with the Department of Veterans Affairs since August, 2008. He has extensive experience in quality improvement, electronic health records, patient safety, coding and compliance, health care privacy, peer review, risk management, systems improvement, and medical education. His experience as a physician and a physician executive spans both the private and public sectors. He was the President, Corporate Medical Director and Chief Compliance Officer for a large primary care and hospitalist group in Central Ohio. Later, he joined the Ohio State University College of Medicine as a physician and as Chair of the Primary Care Network Quality Committee. He is still a Clinical Assistant Professor at Ohio State.
Dr. Hunter received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the Ohio State University, Doctor of Chiropractic from Logan College in St. Louis and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Ohio University. He completed the Family Medicine Residency at Grant Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, where he was Chief Resident. He specializes in family medicine, geriatrics, and hospice and palliative medicine in addition to sports chiropractic medicine and acupuncture. He has a Black Belt in Lean Systems redesign from Purdue University and is a Certified Lean Practitioner from Xavier University.
Dr. Hunter is an Assistant Dean and Clinical Professor at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and serves as the Chief of Academic Affairs at the Chillicothe Veterans Affairs Medical Center.