Pinecrest Supports and Service Center Celebrates 100 Years of Service

Pinecrest Supports and Services Center is a state run Intermediate Care Facility ( ICF) in Pineville, Louisiana serving mentally disabled residents from every parish.

In 1884 one hundred twenty nine patients were admitted to East Louisiana Hospital from the New Orleans Asylum. These 129 individuals would now be what we refer to as individuals with an intellectual disability. In 1914 the Superintendent of East Louisiana Hospital recommended the establishment of a specialized facility for these type patients, as the mental health hospital was not the best place to meet their unique needs. Subsequently, legal authorization from Legislative Act. No. 141 of 1918 created Pinecrest. In 1921 one thousand acres of land was purchased from the Beauregard Development Company utilizing portions of Camp Beauregard that were employed during World War-I. On December 21, 1921 Pinecrest officially opened with a total of 37 patients admitted. The total annual budget for 1921 was $50,000. During these times the facility was completely self-sufficient with a working vegetable farm, dairy farm operation, and livestock such as chickens, hogs, and cattle. This was during a time when the only way the facility could operate was through self-sufficiency due to budget constraints. Years later additional funding was given to the agency so they could begin to purchase instead of produce.

Currently Pinecrest consists of 947 total acres with 163 acres leased to Ward 9 recreational facility, giving the facility 784 acres to care for and operate on. There are 335 total buildings on campus with 158 heated and cooled buildings. There is an on-grounds bakery, a greenhouse, a canteen, a medical observation unit, a fully functional Dental Clinic, a Park, a baseball field, an equine therapy program, a barn with various animals for pet therapy, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, and a school operated by the Department of Education which is operational year round focusing on the specific curricula needs for the individuals supported. The Pinecrest School also has a GED program for the folks who want to obtain their GED.

On campus 40 buildings are currently used as residential homes. There are 12 day service buildings used for skill acquisition training activities, active treatment and training, and vocational learning opportunities. Pinecrest has various work training options including the on campus canteen, bakery, on grounds delivery services, food service skills through the kitchen, landscaping and lawn care through the greenhouse, contracts with community-based agencies, and many more job opportunities.

In December 1921 Pinecrest had 37 residents and during the 1970s the facility had over 2,100 residents. In 2021 Pinecrest supports 430 residents with intellectual disabilities who have significant medical, behavioral, and psychiatric challenges. Pinecrest also has well over 100 individuals with autism who receive specialized programs and training for their unique needs. Pinecrest also has a specialized geriatric program for individuals with an intellectual disability and their unique issues associated with aging and dementia. Pinecrest offers a wide array of clinical services such as; psychology, occupation therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, medical services, nursing, recreation services, psychiatry, and neurology, among other specialized clinical services needed by the individuals supported by Pinecrest.

From 37 patients with limited services and a budget of $50,000, to a complex treatment-based organization supporting individuals with the unique needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For one hundred years Pinecrest has continuously supported individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities that many others cannot serve or refuse to serve throughout the years. Pinecrest’s current focus is on specialized programming and individualized treatment and skills acquisition training focused on independence, autonomy, self-advocacy, and skills development to increase each resident’s ability to live independently.     

Layoffs and budget cuts in 2011 and 2012 forced the following programs to be eliminated; the x-ray dept., EEG dept., art therapy, music therapy and foster grandparent program.

Pinecrest continues to serve ID and DD residents with psychiatric and mental health issues, geriatric/dementia care, and autism and is a safety net for La. Dept. of Health’s intellectual and developmental disabilities system. Pinecrest is available for individuals in need of services for whom there are no services available, current services are no longer adequate and /or an individual status change requiring more intensive assessment, intervention and treatment planning. Pinecrest does provide money for the state at a rate of roughly 62% federal dollars and 28% state dollars.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina destroying 1 facility in 2005, La. had nine facilities. Then Gov. Jindal privatized or closed 7 leaving Pinecrest as the only remaining state-run ICF. Pinecrest has also inherited the legacy costs of all other former state-run ICFs. Meaning that their annual budget includes retirement benefits for those workers, and any related costs for any such facilities that still exist under state control but don’t generate revenue – i.e. property taxes, maintenance, grounds-keeping, etc.

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