Eye doctors combine for 40,000 patient practice in East Bloomington

Thirteen ophthalmologists and an eyewear boutique unite to create a new $10 million eye center.

The 27,000 square foot building will be on the corner of Airport Road and Cornelius Drive, just south of Central Catholic High School and McGraw Park, according to eye care providers.

“Together, we combine our talents to provide our patients with the personalized, quality care they have come to expect from our practices,” said Dr. David Landess, spokesperson for the group.

Landess said the vertical integration approach is not yet mainstream, but more and more practices are adopting it.

“It all depends on the patient’s experience. Now they will have the option of receiving all of their routine or specialty care in one modern, state-of-the-art eye care facility,” Landess said.

With a current active patient list of 40,000, Landess said there aren’t many larger practices in the state of Illinois, though he said the Gailey Eye Clinic is one of them. .

“It also provides patients with additional options to continue their care in the same office if their physician is unavailable in an emergency or even after a physician’s retirement,” said Dr. Eric Norell.

“Through economies of scale and expense sharing, the new company will be able to provide the most advanced technology that continues to improve and improve the quality of diagnosis and treatment of all eye conditions,” said said Dr. Scott Pinter.

The combined practices currently employ about 90 people, and Landess said that won’t change.

“One of our pet peeves for merging companies is that the first thing they look for is payroll, and that hurts the patient experience,” Landess said.

He said he thinks efficiencies will come from cross-training staff, handling patients faster and easier, and easier transitions from one level of care to another.

Included in the merger:

  • 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 at 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 that some doctors may be near the end of their careers, but he said this was not to provide an exit strategy; it’s about ensuring continuity of care for their patients. He said the group contains doctors at all career stages and would be open to adding other practices.
“We are very excited about the future of eye care in our community and are confident that together we can offer much more to our patients than we ever could if we remained independent,” Landess said.

Specs Around Town’s downtown will move to the new facility when complete, Kubsch said, calling it a “hugely emotional decision.”

“At that point, we’ll really be ‘Specs Around Town,'” Kubsch told GLT.

The aim is to start this year and be ready to move into the new building before the end of 2019.

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