Background Law enforcement-related deaths of unarmed black Americans may lead black communities to distrust public institutions. Our study quantifies the impact of law enforcement-related deaths of black New York residents on the use of hospital emergency departments (ED) during 2013-2016. Methods We used regression discontinuity models stratified by race and time period (2013-2015 and 2015-2016) to estimate the impact of law enforcement-related deaths on ED rates. Dates of deaths and media reports were from the Mapping Police Violence database. We calculated the daily overall and condition-specific ED visit rates from the New York's Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System. Results There were 14 law enforcement-related deaths of unarmed black New York residents from 2013 to 2016. In 2013-2014, the ED rate among black New Yorkers decreased by 7.7 visits per 100 000 black New Yorkers (5% less than the average ED rate) using the date of media report as the cut-off with a 2-week exposure window. No changes in ED rates were noted for black New Yorkers in 2015-2016 or for white New Yorkers in either time period. Models using the date of death followed a similar pattern. Conclusion The decrease in ED rates among black New Yorkers immediately following media reports of law enforcement-related deaths involving unarmed black New Yorkers during 2013-2014 may represent potentially harmful delays in healthcare. Reforms implemented during 2015-2016 might have modified the impact of these deaths. Further investigation into the population health impacts of law enforcement-related deaths is needed.
- Access to hlth care
- Health services