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Local mental, behavioral health center pushing for longer insurance coverage for children services

Posted at 6:21 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 19:26:37-05

MILWAUKEE — "Is there a real time limit on mental health and healing," asked Tracy Weber.

Tracy Weber is a Milwaukee mom of an adopted daughter and a foster mom for a little boy. She's been busy getting both children mental health help for issues years in the making.

"Trauma is brain-based and in order to heal the brain it's going to take time," said Weber.

Tracy Weber
Tracy Weber

She took both kids to the STRONG Milwaukee Center, which is a place where children as young as five years old can receive mental and behavioral health services. She says insurance covered services for three months for her son and six months for her daughter, but it wasn't enough.

"I just wish it would last longer," said Weber.

She eventually left the center when out-of-pocket expenses became too much. Dr. Ashely Schoof, the clinical director of the STRONG Milwaukee Center, understands the frustration parents feel.

Dr. Ashley Schoof
Dr. Ashley Schoof, Strong Milwaukee Senior Clinical Director

"If a child has five years of trauma that they've experienced, they are coming to me at the age of maybe seven or eight. I'm only really getting 30 days or so to try and treat that and that's not enough time. I have tried to talk to some of those insurance companies, their doctors, their leaders and it seems to not work so well," said Dr. Schoof.

That's why she and other mental health advocates are working together with insurance companies to try and change these types of policies.

STRONG Milwaukee

"I am hoping to connect with senators that also care about the well-being of the children in Milwaukee. I want to make sure that we are continuously talking about this, otherwise we'll forget that this is an issue," said Dr. Schoof.

Dr. Schoof hopes to ensure services are covered for at least a year or longer if a doctor feels it's necessary. It is something Weber hopes happens sooner rather than later.

"If we really want to start taking a look at critical changes for our nation, our community, our families, we have to be thinking of mental health and we have to be looking at this seriously."

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