Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Mental health counselors who treat clients with Medicaid suffer financiallySubmitted: 03/06/2017
Story By Rose McBride

Mental health counselors who treat clients with Medicaid suffer financially
NORTHWOODS - You probably think therapists who have gone through years of schooling and practice would be making a lot of money. That isn't always the case. In places where large numbers of people being treated for mental health are on Medicaid, insurance companies pay therapists much less than their asking rate.

The numbers show our part of the state is short of mental health professionals. 

Natalie Wetzel-Rasumussen owns a counseling service in Elcho. She's the only therapist in the area. 

"I actually had a number of friends who closed their practices, and they're not up here anymore. They moved out of the area," said Wetzel-Rasmussen. 

Clients come from seven different counties to see her. Seventy percent of those people are on Medicaid.

"We are in an impoverished area, and even with our working poor people who have very good-paying jobs, sometimes two or three or four are on Medicaid," said Wetzel-Rasmussen.

But Medicaid only pays Wetzel-Rasmussen 32 percent of her rate. 

"Private practice is the least-paid--that's where I get the little bit more than someone who works at McDonald's rates," she said.

It's not just a problem for her. The problems spans the Northwoods and much of Wisconsin. 

"I think one of the challenges is not to become a profit-oriented business model when you're providing care to individuals," said Richard Martin, director of Transitions Center in Rhinelander. 

In a federally designated mental health shortage area where many current therapists are nearing retirement, we need to bring in new therapists. That's hard with low rates. 
 
"One of the things that could help is if they actually raised the rate," Martin said. "I think we got a 1-percent increase eight or nine years ago."

We could also take a page out of Minnesota's book, where Medicaid pays more than Wisconsin. 

"Because their Medicaid rate is 40 percent higher than Wisconsin's Medicaid rate, which means that clinicians in Wisconsin make 40 percent less in Medicaid alone than clinicians in Minnesota," said Wetzel-Rasmussen. "Why is that?" 

With low pay, long hours and much heartache, there's a reason they still do it. 

"Because the need is there," said Wetzel-Rasmussen. "Because the need is there. Because I can help people. I have a skill that helps people."  

"Our business mentor said, 'You're actually not a business.' I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'Well it should really be called a hobby because you're not making enough money to be called a business.' Which means there are other reasons why we do this," said Martin. 


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

ANTIGO - When police showed up to a car crash near Antigo this week, the driver seemed discombobulated and out of sorts.  Sunday night, Pao Vang, 33, told officers he had just flown in from vacation with someone else, even though he was the only one in the car.  But it's what officers did find in that car soon after that has Vang in trouble.

Police towed the car from an intersection near the Langlade County Airport (where Vang said he just came from) to a nearby gas station.  There, officers noticed bags full of what appeared to be marijuana sticking out of duffel bags in plain sight.  They got a search warrant and found 133 pounds of high-grade marijuana.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - You can find a lot of stressed out resort owners headed into Memorial Day weekend.  A Rhinelander-area resort manager feels a little better about that stress now that his business won big.

Brekke's Fireside Resort won the Wisconsin Lodging Directory's 2018 cover photo contest.  The resort beat out 10 other finalists after finishing second in the contest last year.  Resort manager Dan Brekke took the winning photo last fall and found out about the win Friday morning.

+ Read More

WOODRUFF - On Friday a pilot's world turned upside down, literally. 

A float plane flipped and landed upside down on Lake Tomahawk Friday morning. The rollover happened near the Indian Shores Campground in Wooduff.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Five years ago Army veteran Beth Bowman was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and lost her ability to walk on her own. 

It was crushing news to the once active 43- year- old veteran.

But this week she tried out a new device at the Rhinelander Veterans Affairs Clinic that gives her a new outlook on life. 
 
"She has very limited or no use of some leg muscles," said Rhinelander V.A. Physical Therapist Dr. Wesley Spurgeon. 

The disease broke down the ability for her brain to talk to the nerves in her legs.

 She went from a cane to crutches to a wheelchair. 

"It was kind of crushing, I was using a cane within a year of my diagnosis," said Bowman. 

Last month Spurgeon offered some hope to Bowman. 

He learned about a nerve stimulator at a class.

"We place electrodes over the top of the muscle we want to stimulate," said Spurgeon.

+ Read More

BOWLER - North Star Mohican Casino will celebrate 25 years in gaming during the month of May and throughout 2017. On  Thursday, May 25, the "Midwest's Friendliest Casino" offered a free barbecue and ceremonial cake-cutting to mark the occasion. Guests enjoyed entertainment, games, and prizes all afternoon, including musical performances by Clint Miller and Kenny James Duo.

+ Read More

WHEATON, IL - A suburban Chicago judge has ordered a mental fitness evaluation for a Wisconsin man charged with shooting and seriously injuring an Amtrak conductor.

The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports 79-year-old Edward Klein's public defender told the DuPage County judge Thursday that she has "bona fide doubt" of the West Allis man's mental fitness.

+ Read More
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/26/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Well tell you about a woman who was rescued after her plane landed in Lake Tomahawk and turned over.

We'll update you on the charges faced by the owner of It Matters to One Animal Rescue in Oneida County. 39 animals from the center were seized in early February following complaints of mistreatment.

And we'll show you a new device at the Rhinelander VA Clinic designed to help people who lost their ability to walk, and we talk to an Army veteran who is the first person at the clinic to try the equipment.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here