The relationship between violence in Northern Mexico and potentially avoidable hospitalizations in the USA-Mexico border region.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Substantial proportions of US residents in the USA-Mexico border region cross into Mexico for health care; increases in violence in northern Mexico may have affected this access. We quantified associations between violence in Mexico and decreases in access to care for border county residents. We also examined associations between border county residence and access.


We used hospital inpatient data for Arizona, California and Texas (2005-10) to estimate associations between homicide rates and the probability of hospitalization for ambulatory care sensitive (ACS) conditions. Hospitalizations for ACS conditions were compared with homicide rates in Mexican municipalities matched by patient residence.


A 1 SD increase in the homicide rate of the nearest Mexican municipality was associated with a 2.2 percentage point increase in the probability of being hospitalized for an ACS condition for border county patients. Residence in a border county was associated with a 1.3 percentage point decrease in the probability of being hospitalized for an ACS condition.


Increased homicide rates in Mexico were associated with increased hospitalizations for ACS conditions in the USA, although residence in a border county was associated with decreased probability of being hospitalized for an ACS condition. Expanding access in the border region may mitigate these effects by providing alternative sources of care.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Geissler, K; Stearns, SC; Becker, C; Thirumurthy, H; Holmes, GM

Published Date

  • March 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 38 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 14 - 23

PubMed ID

  • 25698793

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6404628

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1741-3850

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1741-3842

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/pubmed/fdv012


  • eng