UAMS’ Schmieding Center Receives $3.5 Million Made Possible by Affordable Care Act

By Sally Graham

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the 81 new Health Innovation Awards are made possible by the health care law, the Affordable Care Act, and support innovative projects nationwide designed to deliver high-quality medical care, enhance the health care workforce and save money.

“The Schmieding Center’s project will demonstrate the effectiveness of advanced training in preparing home caregivers to play a more important role as part of the health care team for dependent older adults and – for the first time – promotes the use of microcredit financing for those who want to care for older adults preferring to stay in their homes,” said Larry D. Wright, M.D., executive director of the Schmieding Center and associate professor in the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine.

“We estimate that addressing the growing shortage in this critical workforce in this way can save more than $1.3 million in gross Medicare expenditures over the three years of this project while also creating a model for more effective recruitment, tuition support and retention of these workers,” Wright said.

Microcredit financing makes available small loans to students who are expected through self-improvement to become capable of repaying the loans. The project will allow students to borrow up to $1,500 to cover tuition, books and study materials.

In addition to the Arkansas site, the award supports training and microcredit loans through collaborations with:

• University of Hawaii, Kapi’olani Community College, Honolulu
• Central Texas Aging & Disability Resource Center, Belton, Texas
• WISE & Healthy Aging, Santa Monica, Calif.

The Schmieding curriculum is a 116-hour, nationally recognized training program that offers four levels of certification for people who wish to make a career out of home caregiving (paid caregivers) and two workshops for those who want to provide care to their family members or significant others. This award supports the addition of a 40-hour module to produce a more advanced nursing aide position for home-based, long-term care and the development of a distance-learning component.

The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program was inspired by Lawrence H. Schmieding, who had struggled to find competent, compassionate home care for a brother with dementia. In 1998, the Schmieding Foundation donated $15 million to UAMS to establish and construct the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Springdale. Working in partnership with the Arkansas Aging Initiative, a program of the Reynolds Institute on Aging, the center developed a unique, high-quality caregiver training program specifically for older adults living in their homes.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,836 students and 761 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or