Jessica E. Galarraga

Jessica E. GalarragaJessica E. Galarraga, MD, MPH, is an attending emergency medicine physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and a health services researcher at the MedStar Health Research Institute. In addition, she is a clinical instructor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Dr. Galarraga’s research experience includes investigations in health services and health disparities, including projects on healthcare cost efficiencies, avoidance of unnecessary hospitalizations, impact of payment reform on healthcare delivery, and costs of emergency care. Dr. Galarraga is experienced with using large, national datasets, such as those from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and the National Health Interview Survey, as well as those from billing and claims data. She has a strong biostatistics background and is experienced with Statistical Analysis System coding. Her experience in health policy legislation includes a prior position, in which she worked with the health policy legislative aid for Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. At MedStar Health, she serves on the Finance Committee of the Emergency Medicine Clinical Council.

Dr. Galarraga is the 2015 recipient of the American College of Emergency Physicians Excellence in Research Award, in recognition of her work evaluating the impact of emergency department care on national healthcare costs. She also received an award from the National Medical Association for her work on estimated payments for U.S. outpatient emergency department encounters after proposed policy changes in healthcare reform.

Dr. Galarraga serves as a reviewer for Academic Emergency Medicine and for the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Academic Emergency Medicine, Annals of Emergency Medicine, American Journal of 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 frequently faced by Hispanic Americans. She is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Galarraga has presented her research nationally and locally at professional society meetings and other educational forums for medical professionals.

Her medical degree is from the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, where she also earned a master of public health degree in Health Policy and Administration. While at Case Western, she founded the Applied Medical Spanish Program to train non-Spanish speaking medical students to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients. Upon graduation, she received an award from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine for outstanding proficiency in emergency medicine. She then completed residency training in emergency medicine at George Washington University. Dr. Galarraga hopes to continue her involvement in health services research that will guide policymakers and administrators in making healthcare services accessible, equitable and cost-efficient.

Research Interests

Dr. Galarraga’s research interests include the following:

  • Health services research
  • Payment reform
  • Healthcare cost efficiency
  • Preventable conditions
  • Avoidable hospitalizations
  • Health disparities

Selected Research

Costs of emergency department care in the United States

In this work, published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine (2015;S0735-6757:00465-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2015.06.001), Dr. Galarraga and a colleague estimated the total U.S. costs of acute care originating in the emergency department, including outpatient and inpatient encounters, potentially avoidable costs, and proportional costs of national health expenditures.

Costs associated with acute care in hospital 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 primary care and compared cost expenditures for outpatient, emergency department, and inpatient visits for these conditions. Expansion of outpatient resources and improved health management of the chronically ill may lead to the avoidance of these conditions and their associated expensive hospital-based encounters.

View Dr. Galarraga’s publications on PubMed.

Visit Dr. Galarraga’s clinical practice page.

  • Research Areas
  • Critical Care/Emergency Medicine
  • Health Services/Quality/Outcomes