Jessica E. Galarraga, MD, MPH, is a Physician Investigator at the MedStar Health Research Institute in the Healthcare Delivery Research Network. In addition, she serves as the Associate Medical Director for Health Equity at the MedStar Health Quality & Safety, Health Services Research Director for the MedStar Emergency Medicine Health Policy Fellowship, and is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. She is also a board-certified emergency physician practicing at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Dr. Galarraga’s research experience includes investigations of health systems and policy research, including projects examining the effects of health care delivery and payment reform models on avoidable hospital utilization and costs, healthcare quality, and healthcare disparities. She has conducted a series of studies that employ both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the effects of Maryland’s Global Budget Revenue model on care delivery. She has also led research employing AI methods, including machine learning and natural language processing techniques, to predict outcomes for COVID-19 patients evaluated in the emergency department and support safe dispositions. In recognition of her work in emergency health services research, Dr. Galarraga was the national recipient of the American College of Emergency Physician’s (ACEP) Excellence in Research award in 2015.
In her role as Associate Medical Director for Health Equity, Dr. Galarraga is also responsible for leading a data-driven and community-engaged strategy to address inequities in quality and safety outcomes across the health system. She has contributed to the optimization of the health system’s data infrastructure to support evaluations of healthcare disparities in quality measures.
Dr. Galarraga also possesses experience in health policy, including prior work as a consultant for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation in the development of alternative payment models (APMs) that target improved outcomes for historically marginalized communities. Additionally, she served as President for the DC chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians from 2019-2020.
Dr. Galarraga serves as a reviewer for multiple publications, including Academic Emergency Medicine, Annals of Emergency Medicine, and American Journal of Managed Care. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Annals of Emergency Medicine, Academic Emergency Medicine, and the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. In addition, she has written a chapter for an online health policy textbook that describes health disparities commonly faced by the Hispanic community in the US.
Her medical degree is from the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, where she also earned a research-based Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Administration. She completed residency training in emergency medicine at the George Washington University. Dr. Galarraga is fluent in Spanish and English.
Dr. Galarraga’s research interests include the following:
- Innovations in health care delivery
- Health equity
- Payment reform
- Value-based care
- Avoidable utilization and costs
Costs Associated with Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions Across Hospital-based Settings
In this work, published in Academic Emergency Medicine (2015;22:172-81. doi: 10.1111/acem.12579), Dr. Galarraga and colleagues investigated conditions that could be prevented through improved access and quality of primary care and compared cost expenditures for outpatient, emergency department, and inpatient visits for these conditions. Expanded access to outpatient resources and improved health management for these conditions can avoid more expensive hospital-based encounters.
Effects of Maryland's Global Budget Revenue Model on Emergency Department Utilization and Revisits
In this work, published in Academic Emergency Medicine (2021 Jul 20. doi: 10.1111/acem.14351), Dr. Galarraga and colleagues investigated the effects of Maryland’s Global Budget Revenue model on emergency care utilization and revisits. The reform was associated with a reduction in emergency department revisits, suggesting improvements in care transitions, though the study’s findings on the differential effects of the model by race and ethnicity highlights the importance of including measures of health equity.