Lakeview Center 

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Lakeview Center building - Lakeview Center History

Lakeview Center History

The seed for Lakeview Center was planted when the Escambia County Child Guidance Clinic opened in 1954 through the efforts of many community leaders and the Junior Women's Club. A 27-member volunteer board of directors governed the small clinic. On August 15, 1959, the charter was amended to include services for all individuals and renamed the Escambia County Guidance Clinic.

In 1963 with the passing of the Mental Retardation Facility/Community Mental Health Center construction act, federal funds were available for the construction of a comprehensive community mental health center. On a block of land with a small lake, donated by Baptist Hospital, the new facility was completed in July, 1968. This facility became one of the first comprehensive community mental health centers in the Southeast. To reflect the change in the services provided, the center's name was changed to the Community Mental Health Center of Escambia County.

The early 1970s were a time of tremendous growth. Comprehensive alcohol and drug treatment services were added. These services included a residential center, DUI school, a medically-supervised alcohol detoxification service and a 24-hour telephone crisis counseling service. The Child Development Center was established to provide comprehensive services to children. An outreach program called the Counseling Center of North Escambia County opened its doors for residents in Century and surrounding areas.

By the latter part of the 1970s services for adolescents and seniors grew out of existing programs. In 1977, the Community Mental Health Center of Escambia County became one of the first CMHCs in the nation to be accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.

More growth and services surfaced throughout the 1980s. The programs developed included services for juvenile justice offenders, therapeutic foster homes for behaviorally disordered children, additional residential programs for people with persistent mental illness, short-term residential treatment for chemically dependent adults, an outpatient group practice and the crisis stabilization unit. In 1982, the center's name was changed to Lakeview Center, Inc.(LCI), in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and to reflect the diversity of services provided.

In 1984, Southeastern Rehabilitation Services merged with Lakeview Center and became known as Southeastern Vocational Services. By 1985, this facility was accredited by CARF. Accreditation from this agency has continued since that time.

In the early 1990s, Lakeview Center, through a contract with Health and Rehabilitative Services, began to manage the state-owned psychiatric inpatient facility, West Florida Community Care Center, in Milton. West Florida Community Care Center became the first state-owned facility to receive accreditation by the Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations. Lakeview Center also contracted to provide psychiatric services at University Hospital. The Visiting Nurse Association merged with Lakeview Center. Several programs moved into new facilities including the Century Counseling Clinic and The Meridian, a long-term residential facility for adolescents.

Several residential facilities opened to offer homes and appropriate levels of support for people with persistent mental illness. Lakeview Center committed itself to continue to improve its services through an intensive total quality management program. Lakeview Associates developed the satisfaction survey instruments for Mental Health Corporations of America.

On March 1, 1996, Lakeview Center and Baptist Health Care signed their affiliation agreement. With this agreement, Lakeview Center began management of Baptist Hospital's inpatient Behavioral Medicine Center, The Friary and Avalon Center in Milton.

In recent years, Lakeview Center implemented an electronic client record system, centralized client registration and a satisfaction survey system for clients, staff and referral sources. Lakeview Center received an award of excellence for effective, efficient provider organizations by the National Council for Community Behavioral Health in 1999.

In 2000, Lakeview Center was awarded contracts that moved its primary business area into Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties. With the Department of Children and Families, Lakeview Center became lead agency for the privatization of foster care for District I. Another contract with the Agency for Healthcare Administration expanded Lakeview into managed care services with Access Behavioral Health, a prepaid limited health specialty organization, which coordinates the behavioral health care benefits of many Medicaid recipients across the four counties.

In 2004, LCI pursued accreditation through CARF, as CARF is more closely aligned with the services Lakeview provides. Lakeview engaged in a rigorous peer review process and received a 3-year accreditation outcome, the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization.

With every decade, Lakeview Center has continually responded to the community's needs. Its reputation is built on a long history of providing quality services and innovative programming by well-trained, caring staff.