Thirteen eye doctors and a spectacle boutique are coming together to create a new $10 million eye center.
The 27,000-square-foot building will be at the corner of Airport Road and Cornelius Drive just south of Central Catholic High School and McGraw Park, according to the eye care providers.
“Together, we combine our talents to offer our patients the personalized and quality care they have come to expect from our practices,” said Dr. David Landess, a spokesman for the group.
Landess said the vertical integration approach is not yet common, but more practices are adopting it.
"It's all about the patient experience. Now they will have the convenience of having all their routine care or specialized care in one modern, state-of-the-art eye care facility,” said Landess.
With a current active patient roster of 40,000, Landess said there are not many practices that are larger in the state of Illinois, though he said the Gailey Eye Clinic is one of them.
“This also offers patients additional options to continue their care in the same practice if their doctor isn’t available in an urgent situation or even after a doctor retires,” said Dr. Eric Norell.
"Through economies of scale and shared expenses, the new business will be able to provide the most advanced technology which continues to improve and enhance the quality of diagnosing and treating all eye conditions,” said Dr. Scott Pinter.
The combined practices currently employ about 90 people and Landess said that will not change.
"One of our pet peeves for businesses that merge is the fact the first thing they go after is payroll, and that undermines the patient experience," said Landess.
He said he thinks efficiencies will come in cross training staff, seeing patients faster and smoother, and with easier transitions from one level of care to another.
Included in the merger are:
- Dr. Daniel Brownstone MD, Dr. Catharine Crockett MD, Dr. Scott Pinter MD, and Dr. Kathy Vize OD of Eye Surgical Associates in Bloomington
- Dr. Jeffrey Huettemann OD, David Landess OD, and Dr. Jason Dunn OD of McLean County Eye Center in Normal
- Dr. Eric Norell OD, Dr. Michelle Willenbring OD, and Dr. Tom Mahaffey OD of Central Illinois Eye Care in Normal
- Dr. Wilson Movic OD and Dr. John Coulliard OD of Eyecare Associates in Bloomington
- Specs Around Town, owned by Julie Kubsch
Landess acknowledged some doctors might be close to the end of their careers, but he said it's not about providing an exit strategy; it's about ensuring continuity of care for their patients. He said the group contains physicians at all career stages and would be open to adding other practices.
“We are very excited about the future for eye care in our community and are confident that together we can offer much more to our patients than we ever could have if we remained independent,” said Landess.
Specs Around Town downtown will be relocating to the new facility when it's done, said Kubsch, calling it an "extremely emotional decision."
"At that point we’ll truly be 'Specs Around Town,'" Kubsch told GLT.
The goal is to break ground this year and be ready to move into the new building before the end of 2019.
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