Da Vinci - Payer Coverage Decision Exchange
0.4.1 - CI Build

Da Vinci - Payer Coverage Decision Exchange, published by HL7 International - Financial Management Work Group. This is not an authorized publication; it is the continuous build for version 0.4.1). This version is based on the current content of https://github.com/HL7/davinci-pcde/ and changes regularly. See the Directory of published versions

Formal Specification

This page is broken into three sections which outline the expectations for systems wishing to comply with the IG:

  • General context that implementers need to understand in reading the remainder of the guide

  • A description of the technical data exchange mechanisms by which a patient requests and enables that information to be transmitted from the original payer to the new payer and the means by which that transfer actually occurs.

  • A description of the data structure to be shared that supports a transition of coverage responsibility from one payer plan to another



Before reading this formal specification, implementers should first familiarize themselves with two other key portions of the specification:

  • The Use Cases & Overview page provides context for what this formal specification is trying to accomplish and will give a sense of both the business context and general process flow enabled by the formal specification below.

  • The Technical Background page provides information about the underlying specifications and indicates what portions of them should be read and understood to have necessary foundation to understand the constraints and usage guidance described here.


This implementation guide uses specific terminology to flag statements that have relevance for the evaluation of conformance with the guide:

  • SHALL indicates requirements that must be met to be conformant with the specification.

  • SHOULD indicates behaviors that are strongly recommended (and which may result in interoperability issues or sub-optimal behavior if not adhered to), but which do not, for this version of the specification, affect the determination of specification conformance.

  • MAY describes optional behaviors that are free to consider but where the is no recommendation for or against adoption.


This specification makes significant use of FHIR profiles and terminology artifacts to describe the content to be shared as part of prior authorization requests and responses.

The full set of profiles defined in or used by this implementation guide can be found by following the links on the Artifacts page.


This IG defines custom codes for document types and sections. Implementers SHALL consider the codes ‘temporary’. After implementation testing and confirmation, these custom codes will migrate to standardized codes in an official code system - most likely LOINC.

Data Exchange

This data exchange builds on the Da Vinci Payer Data Exchange (PDex) and Clinical Data Exchange (CDex) implementation guides, leveraging the OAuth 2.0-based mechanism to enable data flow between two payer systems and the non-Task Solicited Communication mechanism to request the desired document. This section of the implementation guide provides details on that flow.


For this implementation guide to be applicable, the following conditions must be met:

  • A member of a covered plan has moved to another covered plan offered by another payer.

  • That member is currently being treated for some chronic or acute condition and wishes the treatment to continue

  • The new payer has performed a patient / coverage resolution process and has information about relevant prior coverage

  • The new payer system knows the base FHIR API URL for (and has basic business arrangements in place allowing query of data from) the original payer


  1. The member uses an interface/portal or SMART app within the new payer’s system to authenticate to the original payer’s system and authorize the prior payer to allow the new payer to access the member’s clinical and treatment data. The original payer’s system provides an OAuth 2.0 token to the new plan.

  2. Using the token, the new payer’s system requests a Coverage Transition Document from the prior plan by POSTing a Task to their system. Optionally, the new payer creates a Subscription on the old payers system, requesting notifications about updates to the newly created Task

  3. The original payer either locates an existing document (previously prepared) or assembles the information needed and creates the requested document. Updates are made to the Task.status element and, optionally, human-readable status information within Task.businessStatus.text element as the task progresses through different states. (In PCDE, the Task is limited to the states ‘requested’, ‘in-progress’, ‘completed’ or ‘failed’.) The payer updates Task.output with a reference to the document when Task.status is completed.

  4. The new payer queries the origninal payer’s system for updates to the Task. This is either done by polling at regular intervals or by responding to a Subscription notification. When the Task.status is completed, the new payer retrieves the Coverage Transition Document pointed to by the Task.output.

  5. The new payer incorporates the information in the document into their utilization management / utilization review process for review and approval of the ongoing treatments for the new member.

The following diagram illustrates the workflow that is supported by this implementation guide:

PCDE Workflow


This IG supplements PDex and uses the same authorization process for member directed exchange. By using the SMART on FHIR implementation of OAuth 2.0 and providing an appropriate access token from an original payer’s system to a new payer at the request of a member, the new payer’s application is able to authenticate to the original payer’s system and gain access to information authorized by the member.

Since the CMS Notice of Proposed Rule Making requires that the member may direct the exchange of information from payers for up to five years after a member leaves a plan, there may be the need to permit new payers to access more than just the prior plan. It may be necessary to include a number of prior plans that fall within the 5 year time frame. Payer systems SHALL therefore allow members to authorize multiple other payers to retrieve relevant information.

Handling Sensitive Data

Payers SHALL provide a method for past members to authorize the exchange sensitive information as defined by federal, state and, where appropriate, local statue. In the event that a member does not permit a payer to exchange sensitive data, the payer SHALL have a method to sequester such information and make it unavailable for exchange. This SHOULD happen as part of the authorization process.

Token duration

In many cases, manual work will be required by payer staff to create a requested Coverage Transition document either because the document does not exist in their system or is not up-to-date. In these cases, time and some additional effort might be required to gather content, organize it and provide the appropriate document narrative. This may take hours or even a few days. The duration of the authorization token granted by payers SHALL, therefore, take the time required to fulfill a request into account to ensure that that the authorized access will not expire prior to the document being delivered. (Allowance should also be made for a delay of 7 days in retrieval by the new payer’s system in the event of a plannned or unplanned system outage.)

Initiating document generation/retrieval

Once the necessary token has been retrieved through the OAuth process, the new payer system will POST a PCDE Task request to the original payer system. The requester SHALL populate the Task.code and Task.status to indicate that a Coverage Transition document is requested. (See here for an example of a requested Task.)

Tracking Status

While fulfilling the request, the original payer MAY update Task.status or Task.businessStatus.text to reflect interim status information. (For example, indicating that the task is in-progress with a date when the document is expected to be ready.) An example can be seen here.

When the document is available, original payer SHALL update Task.status to completed and provide a reference to the Coverage Transition document resource in Task.output. An example can be seen here.

The payer may be unable to complete a request if the member is unknown or the information requested cannot be provided. In these cases, the original payer SHALL indicate that a requests was not completed by updating Task.status to failed and, optionally, Task.statusReason. An example can be seen here.

There are two options for monitoring the Task to verify acceptance, determine progress and determine if the requested document is ready for retrieval: subscription and polling.


At the time of this publication, the expectations around the use of subscription within U.S. Core for use with R4 have not yet been finalized. (They are expected to use a pre-adopted version of the R5 subscription mechanism which is significantly revised from the version published as part of R4.) This specification will be updated once those requirements have stabilized. In the meantime, payers are permitted to pre-adopt the use of subscription, but will need to negotiate the fine details of how it will work.


If no subscription was created, the new payer SHALL routinely perform a read on the orginal payer’s system using the id of the originally created Taskto receive updates to the Task. Polling is performed by executing a GET operation using the id received from the original payer when the Task was created, optionally using the If-Modified-Since header to limit the data returned if the Task has not been updated since it was last polled.


GET [base]/Task/1135804

When the document is available, original payer SHALL update Task.status to completed and provide a reference to the Coverage Transition document resource in Task.output.

Retrieving the document

When the Task.status is completed, the Task will have an output element with the name ‘document’ that is a reference to the requested coverage transition document. On retrieving the Task and finding it in completed state, the new payer SHALL perform a ‘read’ on the specified URL for the document referenced in the Task.output element for the newly created document, again using the previously supplied token. The new payer can then process the document contents as necessry to ensure a smooth transition of care.


  • The original payer SHALL make the Task resource and associated document available for a minimum of 7 days after transitioning to complete, or for at least 24 hours after a successful response is returned to a ‘read’ attempt by the new payer, whichever is less. This ensures the new payer has an opportunity to re-query the document if an issue occurs during the original read.

  • It is theoretically possible for multiple Tasks to point to the same document (e.g. if a patient is transitioning to coverage under two different plans, the payer MAY simply update the second Task to point to a coverage transition document originally created for another payer).

Data structure

This IG uses a FHIR document approach to organizing the information shared by the original payer system. This aligns with the approach typically used for any other sort of transition of responsibility (be it clinical or administrative responsibility). The document approach allows arbitrary data objects (typically FHIR resources) in logical groupings for human consumption/review and allows human narrative to provide context and guidance on interpretting and using the information.

While the eventual target of future versions of this IG may be to allow fully automated import and use of the provided payer data, it is likely that at least some cases will always require human review and, in the short term, most/all payers will incorporate human review in the consumption of the data shared. The document approach significantly simplifies this review process.

Coverage Transition document structure

All Coverage Transition documents SHALL comply with the PCDE Bundle and PCDE Composition profiles. These profiles set out a document structure as follows:

Coverage Transition Document structure

An example of a Coverage Transition document can be found here.

There are two major sections to a Coverage Transition Document: Active Treatments and Other Documentation

Active Treatment

This section should repeat for each “active treatment” the patient is receiving under coverage from the original payer at the time the document is prepared. Active treatments might include:

  • medications
  • procedures
  • medical equipment
  • enrollment in disease management programs
  • etc.

Payer knowledge of what treatments are ‘active’ might come from prior authorizations, recently submitted claims or from clinical information shared with the payer as part of care management or other processes.

For each active treatment the following three sub-sections are available:


This mandatory section defines a single treatment. The CarePlan instance that is the entry will convey the following information:

  • What the treatment is (coded if possible, though text is permitted where a standardized procedure/medication/product code does not exist)
  • The condition that caused the need for treatment (coded as ICD-10-CM if possible)
  • Any protocol being followed in the treatment (referenced by URL)
Prior Coverage

This section will include the most recent relevant Claim(s) and/or Prior Authorization(s) associated with the treatment. The purpose is to give a sense of how much of the treatments have been authorized, how many have already been performed/paid for, when the most recently billed occurrence was, etc. Section narrative may provide additional detail.

Prior Authorizations SHOULD comply with the PAS Prior Authorization and PAS Prior Authorization Response profile. As yet, there are no Da Vinci profiles available for Claim resources, so technically any FHIR-valid Claim and ClaimResponse resources are allowed, though alignment with the PAS Prior Authorization profiles is recommended. The US Core DocumentReference profile can be used to convey PDF or other non-discrete representations if full FHIR-encoding is not possible.

Supporting Information

These sections provide additional information that supports the treatment decision. Examples might include past treatments that had been tried and proved ineffective, lab results or other reports that support the decision to perform the treatment, clinical orders that support the treatment, etc.

Each repetition must have one or more resource entries. The section narrative SHALL provide a human description of the relevance of the contained resource entries. Separate sections can be used to provide different groupings of resources that provide different types of support. For example, one repetition might deal with prior therapy. Another might contain the current order. A third might indicate dispenses to date against that order.

Other Documentation

These sections allow conveying information that is not directly related to a current active therapy but which may be relevant to allowing the new payer to provide appropriate care. For example, conveying that a patient has had a double-mastectomy in the past. That may not be related to ‘active therapy’, but would still be relevant in terms of the new payer knowing not to send reminders for mamogram treatments.

Multiple sections are allowed so that separate narratives can be used to group resources that are related together. Narrative-only sections can be used to convey information for which no discrete data exists or is relevant.

Additional Notes

  1. At the moment, this IG is quite flexible with how information is encoded. Future versions of this IG will likely impose additional expectations, at least for certain types of conditions/therapies, as it becomes more obvious where additional interoperability requirements can result in less manual effort/reduced time in processing transitions in coverage.

  2. The US Core profiles impose terminology expectations that reflect commonly used clinical terminologies. These may not always align with commonly used billing codes. While billing codes may be sent as well (as additional translations), payers SHALL translate to the appropriate clinical terminology (e.g. SNOMED CT) in order to comply with the US Core profiles if an appropriate code exists in the US Core value set.

  3. The Coverage Transition document structure is open-ended. Additional sections and sub-sections are permitted and additional data elements (including extensions) are permitted as part of the document instance. Additional elements should never be used in place of ‘standard’ elements, but can be sent in addition to provide additional context to systems that understand the additional discrete data. All important information should be reflected in the resource narrative (text) elements and/or in the section.text elements.