The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

March 1, 2013

Candor Physician Assistant Joins FirstHealth of the Carolinas Team

Elliott had brief stay in Stanly County


CNHI

Friday, March 1, 2013 — CANDOR – Larry Elliott, P.A., a longtime fixture in the Montgomery County medical community, has joined the FirstHealth of the Carolinas network of family care providers.

The transition occurred Feb. 1 and gave FirstHealth its first provider presence in Candor and its second family care practice in Montgomery County. The FirstHealth Family Care Center-Troy is located in the Medical Arts Building adjacent to FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital.

“We are excited about having Larry join the FirstHealth of the Carolinas team and we are very happy about having a family care provider of his background and experience in the Candor area,” says Montgomery Memorial President Beth Walker.

Previously called Health Plus, Elliott’s practice will become the FirstHealth Family Care Center-Candor with the transition to FirstHealth but will continue to operate from its present location at 210 E. Main St.,  Candor. Members of the staff will also become FirstHealth employees and the supervising physician for the practice will be Bo Kopynec, M.D. of the FirstHealth Family Care Center-Ellerbe.

To make the transition as smooth as possible the practice closed temporarily Feb. 1-8 to allow Elliott and his staff to learn a new electronic health records system as well as adapt to new billing and scheduling software.

Elliott says he looks forward to his new association with FirstHealth.

“I am excited about the opportunities that are going to be available in patient care,” he says.

Born in Oklahoma, Elliott spent the first several years of his life living in various locations throughout western Canada while his father worked as an oil pipe liner. His first educational experience was in a small school on a creek in the Yukon Territory where one teacher was responsible for all 12 grades. When he was 7 years old, the family returned to Oklahoma, where Elliott and his mother worked a family farm while his father continued his pipeline work.

As a young man, Elliott made a spur-of-the-moment decision to apply to take the written test for the U.S. Army Special Forces, but found that the only training opportunities at the time were in communications and medicine. He had never considered medicine as a career, but it became his field by default when he discovered he had no interest in learning Morse Code or carrying the hand-cranked World War II-vintage AM radio necessary for Vietnam-era communications.

He spent a dozen years as a highly trained Special Forces medic and then earned a coveted spot in the exacting two-year physician assistant program at Shepherd Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. He retired from the Army in 1987 but was reactivated for duty in the first Gulf War.

Elliott was working as a physician assistant in Georgia, when a call from Special Forces friend Hans White, also a physician assistant, enticed him to Montgomery County and a long professional association with the late Bill Hanham, M.D., who became his mentor and friend.

“He did more than teach me medicine,” Elliott says.

“He taught me to be a provider.”

Elliott was a physician assistant in both Troy and Biscoe, with a brief stint in Stanly County, before moving to his current location eight years ago. The foreign language training he received through the Army serves him well in Candor where about half of his practice is Spanish-speaking. He was trained in Farsi (the most widely spoken language in Iran) and Cantonese Chinese as well as Spanish at the U.S. Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif.

“The ability to speak to a patient on a personal level really does help in patient care,” says Elliott, whose family practice accepts patients ages 6 months through senior citizens.

An active member of Star United Methodist Church, Elliott is married to Kathy Elliott, the office manager for Health Plus. They have two daughters – Rachael Leask, a chief warrant officer with the Coast Guard in Connecticut; and Sonia Burk, an Air Force retiree who continues to work for the Air Force in Hawaii; two sons – Daniel Hurley, who is in medical school; and Tyler Hurley, who works with a global out-resourcing company in Raleigh; and four grandchildren.