Navy veteran named Legion VA Physician of the Year
2023 American Legion VA Physician of the Year, Dr. William Bell, III, accepts his award at the Commander’s Call during the 2024 Washington Conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday, February 26. Photo by Hilary Ott/The American Legion

Navy veteran named Legion VA Physician of the Year

The American Legion presented its 2023 VA Physician of the Year award to Dr. William Bell, III, on Monday at the Commander’s Call held during the Legion’s annual Washington Conference. 

Bell is a Navy veteran who left the private practice to serve as a rheumatologist at the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center in Mountain Home, Tenn., where he has been for the past eight years. 

“I am deeply honored and appreciative of this award,” Bell said in his acceptance remarks before members of the Legion Family. “I want to accept this award on behalf of my staff, without which I wouldn’t be here. And I appreciate the VA for providing me a place to finish out my career in medicine.”

When Bell joined the VA as a physician, his mission was to decrease the wait time for patients that had inflammatory arthritis. “We have been successfully able to do that,” he said. “(The VA) provided me that opportunity and the people we needed.” 

In closing, Bell said that when he came to the VA he was surprised by the number of veterans on staff. “About 75 percent of the providers I work with are all veterans. Hopefully we will all continue to provide you a service that you need and desire.”