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Health and Human Services

Lorens A. Helmchen

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Economics of disclosing medical errors to patients, Insurance benefit design for end-of-life care, Outcome warranties for cardiac revascularization and cancer therapy

Lorens HelmchenDr. Helmchen, Associate Professor of Health Administration and Policy, is currently studying mechanisms that improve quality transparency in health care and patients’ incentives to choose effective medical treatment. Dr. Helmchen is a co-investigator on a $3 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that aims to evaluate how the disclosure of medical errors affects patients’ likelihood to sue and receive compensation, and their assessment of the quality of care.

Dr. Helmchen also researches the potential of provider-issued outcome warranties, which would insure policyholders against easily verifiable adverse treatment outcomes, such as remission after cancer therapy or 30-day survival after undergoing heart bypass surgery. In a related project, he is exploring how negative co-payments might improve existing insurance benefits, instead of paying more for more costly treatment; beneficiaries would get paid for choosing less costly treatment. He has published in leading field journals such as Health Economics, Medical Care, Journal of Risk and Insurance, Southern Economic Journal, Quality and Safety in Healthcare, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


  • Ph.D., Economics, The University of Chicago, 2004
  • M.A., Economics, Humboldt University in Berlin, 1997

Contact Information
Northeast Module I,
Room 121

Mailing Address
Department of Health
Administration and Policy
MS: 1J3
4400 University Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444