Good morning. Leaders in Cumberland County are giving a thumbs down to proposed tolls on the Interstate 83 bridge over the Susquehanna River. Tolls have been floated as a way to pay for a new bridge, but commissioners are concerned drivers will flood local roads in a bid to avoid the charges -- not that it's been all that hard for people to avoid tolls in Pennsylvania.
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Equity-backed firm picks up pioneering eye practice

The eye doctor who practically introduced the capital region to LASIK surgery has sold his practice.
  • Dr. Bennett Chotiner and his son, Dr. Erik Chotiner, have sold Memorial Eye Institute to Vision Innovation Partners, a regional eye-care practice backed by private equity firm Centre Partners
  • "We are excited to partner with Vision Innovation Partners and share our mutual commitment to innovation and excellence in eye care and eye surgery for many years to come," the Chotiners said in a statement.
  • Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and spokespeople for Vision Innovation did not respond to questions by press time.
  • "We believe Memorial Eye's experience and approach to utilizing the most advanced technology, as well as their commitment to a culture of world-class, personalized patient care, will position the practice for strong growth in the future," Vision Innovation CEO Michael Dunn said in a statement.

The background: Originally from Pittsburgh, Bennett Chotiner launched his Harrisburg-area practice in 1977, according to a 2018 profile in Harrisburg Magazine. Memorial has been a repeat winner of the magazine's annual Simply the Best awards.
  • The practice was an early adopter of many of the technologies that have become widespread in eye care, including LASIK, used to correct vision.
  • Today, Memorial operates two centers, one in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County, and one in Hampden Township, Cumberland County.
  • Founded in 2017, Vision Innovation encompasses 63 locations and 11 surgery centers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
  • Centre Partners has offices in New York and Los Angeles.

The trend: While hospital consolidation has drawn lots of attention, a quieter consolidation has been remaking medical practices.
  • Investor-backed firms have been snapping up independent practices in a variety of specialties. The firms generally keep the local brands intact, particularly if their reputations are strong.
  • For independent practices, an affiliation can offer lower-cost help with back-office services in areas like billing and cyber security.
  • The sale of Memorial Eye is the second transaction so far this year to involve a local eye practice.
  • New York-based OCLI Vision last week bought Dailey Harvey Eye Associates in Camp Hill.

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Quick takes

WHO'S SELLING: Snyder Secary & Associates, a regional engineering firm with offices in Harrisburg and York. As of Dec. 31, the firm has been absorbed into Pennoni, a larger, Philadelphia-based firm. Founded in 2008, Snyder Secary is continuing operations as the Snyder Secary Division of Pennoni, while founders James Snyder and Ronald Secary have become principal engineers with Pennoni. Other terms of deal were not disclosed.
  • Pennoni, which is employee-owned, expects the acquisition to strengthen its civil engineering, land use planning and development consulting services.
  • In recent years, Snyder Secary has snagged a lot of design work for large warehouses, according to Pennoni.
  • "They have developed a solid reputation in the region, and we look forward to having them as part of the team as we serve our clients," Pennoni president and CEO David DeLizza said in a statement.
The background: Pennoni employs more than 1,000 people at offices in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.  

WHO’S BUYING: Round The Clock Diner & Coffee Shop. The restaurant company bought property at the heavily traveled intersection of Industrial Highway and North Hills Road in Springettsbury Township, York County. The company, which operates two diners in York County, paid $2.45 million for the roughly two-acre lot at 175 North Hills Road, near Interstate 83 and Route 30. 
  • The seller was a partnership called G&S Rentals Partners, headed by Benrus L. Stambaugh II and Benrus L. Stambaugh III of Emigsville-based HVAC contractor Gohn & Stambaugh
  • Both the buyer and seller were represented by agents of Lancaster-based TRUE Commercial Real Estate
  • Round the Clock – which has a restaurant nearby on Memory Lane – has no current plans for the property, according to Themi Sacarellos, the restaurant’s owner.
  • But the company does hope to redevelop it eventually, he said.
  • The property was formerly home to a flooring store, which moved, and it sits across from a Rutter’s convenience store.

WHAT'S DOWN TO ONE: The ownership group for Horizon Healthcare Services, a Lancaster-based provider of home infusion services. Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health bought out its co-owners Penn State Health and Tower Health. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is not expected to lead to any changes for patients or the company's roughly 150 employees, according to a press release.
  • "The ownership change will enable Horizon to continue its success and to meet future demand in the region for customized treatment therapies," LG Health spokesperson John Lines wrote in an email.
  • Horizon provides home infusion and nutrition services in more than 40 counties in eastern and Central Pennsylvania.
  • Infusion therapies are used to treat patients with conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as patients with infections that don't respond to oral antibiotics.
  • Penn State Health will continue to refer patients to Horizon, said Scott Gilbert, a spokesperson for the Dauphin County-based health system. "But as Penn State Health continues to expand, we will also explore similar options for our patients that reflect our widening geographic footprint."

The background: The buyout is not the first time regional health systems have ended a partnership for affiliated health care services. 
  • In 2018, LG Health, UPMC and Tower divvied up a jointly owned home health care service called Affilia Home Health.

WHO'S HIRING: ACNB Corp. The Gettysburg-based bank has outlined a succession plan for its CFO, David Cathell, who plans to retire on May 31. The bank is hiring Jason Weber, who will start Jan. 31 as executive vice president/finance before stepping into the CFO role on Cathell's retirement. The overlap is designed to ensure a smooth transition, according to a press release from the bank.
  • Weber (pictured below left) is joining ACNB from Atlantic Community Bankers Bank, a Camp Hill-based financial services company where Weber was CFO.
  • Before joining Atlantic, Weber worked at Lancaster-based Fulton Financial, where he was director of corporate development and financial planning and analysis.

WHO'S PROMOTING: PNC Bank. The bank has named a Lancaster-based wealth director to head up its private banking arm in Central Pennsylvania. Rahwa Teklai has been promoted to market leader and senior vice president for PNC Private Bank, which caters to wealthy individuals and families.
  • Teklai, who has been with PNC since 2017, worked most recently as a wealth director for PNC Private Bank in the Philadelphia market.
  • Teklai (pictured below right) is on the board of Leadership Lancaster and the Lancaster Estate Planning Council. She also volunteers for Girls on the Run Lancaster 
  • Following a merger last year, Pittsburgh-based PNC is now one of the largest banks in the U.S.
  • The bank's Central PA market includes Harrisburg, Hershey, Lancaster, York, Gettysburg, Hanover and State College.

WHO'S PLANTING SEEDS: The Giant Co. and Harrisburg University of Science & Technology. The Carlisle-based Giant grocery chain has donated $1 million toward a planned Harrisburg U research center that will dig into the trends and technology reshaping agriculture. First, they have to find a location for the center.  

WHO WANTS THE GEN-Z VOTE: State Sen. Marty Flynn. The Democrat from northeastern Pennsylvania is proposing legislation that would direct the Pennsylvania Turnpike to accept payments from services like PayPal, Venmo and Zelle.
  • In a memo to other lawmakers, Flynn noted that billing through the Toll by Plate process, a costlier alternative to E-ZPass, can be frustrating for drivers -- at least the ones that bother to pay.
  • Flynn noted that a more convenient payment option might help the turnpike address its notorious problem with unpaid tolls.
  • Under his proposal, instead of a mailed invoice, drivers would be able to get an invoice on their phones and ignore it, er, pay it using a mobile payment app.


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Compiled and written by Joel Berg

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