Improving the Care of Youth With Type 1 Diabetes With a Novel Medical-Legal Community Intervention: The Diabetes Community Care Ambassador Program

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PurposeThe purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and efficacy of the Diabetes Community Care Ambassador (DCCA) Program, a novel medical-legal community intervention designed to support high-risk youth with type 1 diabetes.MethodsStudy eligibility criteria: ages 3-19 years, A1C ≥8.5% (≥69 mmol/mol) and/or recent diabetic ketoacidosis hospitalization, type 1 diabetes duration ≥1 year, and English- or Spanish-speaking. Eighty-nine youth and their caregivers participated in the 9- to 12-month intervention, which included diabetes education and support through 3 home visits, 1 to 2 school visits, and phone support from a lay health worker, as well as legal support from a medical-legal partnership attorney. Feasibility was assessed; change in A1C was compared in a linear mixed model.ResultsOf the 89 DCCA Program participants, 80% completed the program, with the majority of participants rating their DCCA favorably. Sixty-two percent reported ≥1 unmet legal need, of whom 29% accepted legal counsel. Youth enrolled in the DCCA Program demonstrated an improvement in glycemic control as their mean A1C decreased from 9.71% (83 mmol/mol) at the start of the program to 9.40% (79 mmol/mol) at the end of the intervention period (P = .03). Participants with public health insurance experienced the greatest differential A1C reduction (9.79% to 9.11%, 83 mmol/mol to 76 mmol/mol).ConclusionsThe DCCA Program represents a promising intervention for improving care of high-risk youth with type 1 diabetes. A significant proportion of caregivers of youth reported having an unmet legal need. Participants remained highly engaged and demonstrated improved glycemic control, particularly youth with public health insurance.

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