The Milky Way Galactic Center is the most extreme astrophysical environment that is currently resolvable at gamma-ray energies -- and cosmic-rays accelerated in the inner degrees of our galaxy power numerous excesses observable across the electromagnetic spectrum. Recently, Fermi-LAT observations have discovered a significant gamma-ray excess centered coincident with the position of Sgr A*. While this excess may be explained by populations of gamma-ray pulsars or by dark matter annihilation, it is worth noting that the intensity of this excess is comparable to the systematic uncertainties in the diffuse astrophysical gamma-ray emission near the Galactic plane. Thus, a detailed understanding of the intensity, spectrum, and morphology of gamma-rays from hadronic and leptonic processes in the Galactic center is necessary to determine both the existence and characteristics of the gamma-ray excess. In this talk, I will discuss significant improvements in gamma-ray diffuse emission modeling that enhance our understanding of high energy astrophysics near the Galactic center, and will describe the impact of these models on our understanding of the gamma-ray excess.