Early Intervention is Key to Prevention | MedStar Health

Early Intervention is Key to Prevention

Share this

As pictured above, active living is a key component of the DPP program.

The Diabetes Prevention Program

MedStar Family Choice (MFC), a Managed Care Organization (MCO), serving more than 90,000 Medicaid patients in the state of Maryland was awarded a grant from the Maryland Department of Health in late 2016 to focus on prevention of diabetes –one of most prevalent chronic diseases in the state, and among the Medicaid population. MedStar Family Choice was one of four MCOs in the state of Maryland selected to participate in a two-year demonstration project that includes the implementation and evaluation of the evidence-based, nationally-renowned Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) among Medicaid recipients. The DPP program is a 12-month lifestyle change intervention, where trained lifestyle coaches lead small group sessions that focus on behavior changes to improve the health of participants. Program topics include healthy eating and active living that often lead to weight loss or better weight management, as part of program participation. Increased weight is a significant risk factor of diabetes onset. The overarching aim of the DPP is to prevent or lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among at-risk individuals.

A distinctive feature of this DPP demonstration project is that program participants can enroll in a traditional in-person DPP or an online DPP, through a partnership with Omada Health, a company focusing on chronic disease management through digital platforms. Having different program delivery options, attempts to decrease the barriers to program enrollment, participation and completion. Since MFC began enrolling members into the DPP in early 2017, 150 individuals have enrolled (18 in-person and 132 online). Approximately 50 online participants recently completed the program. “Through this demonstration, we learned our members have a heavy preference for the virtual program, and the preference is matched with great reports of weight loss and engagement. Additionally, in our efforts to recruit members for the program, we realized how difficult it is for a majority of this population to make the time commitment for the in-person DPPs (for various reasons, such as school, work, childcare, or transportation),” says Zaena Tessema, program coordinator at MedStar Family Choice.

The DPP is an important initiative for MFC for several reasons. “The evidence-based approach and proven efficacy of the program is well-documented. It provides a mechanism to identify those who are at risk for diabetes and offers them an intervention grounded in research. In addition, the program’s emphasis on behavior change and healthy lifestyles is a critical approach to prevention of disease and overall well-being for our members,” states Patryce Toye, MD, medical director at MedStar Family Choice.

“We are very excited to participate in this demonstration and have the opportunity to offer the DPP to our members. We have a very large population of members who are at risk of diabetes, and with some simple education and life changes, we are able to arm them with the resources and knowledge they need to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Being able to work with our community DPP providers and build relationships with the YMCA and other MCOs has set the stage moving forward to introducing the DPP and chronic disease prevention services to healthcare systems throughout the country,” says Tessema.


For more information on the DPP and Medicaid, please feel free to explore the coverage toolkit. If you would like to participate in the MedStar Family Choice DPP program, please visit the Diabetes Prevention Program page for more information.

Do you need care now?
Find care in your community today!

To learn more about MedStar Health's programs and initiatives across Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region that are contributing to healthier communities, contact Raquel Lamptey at 410-772-6910