The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a reimbursement structure to pay for the use of an artificial intelligence (AI) application from software developer Viz.ai to analyze stroke images.
CMS granted new technology add-on payment (NTAP) status for the use of Viz.ai's Viz ContaCT AI algorithm to detect stroke on CT scans. The application was approved in 2018 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to analyze brain CT images and alert healthcare providers if a patient is having a stroke.
The NTAP program is part of CMS' Inpatient Prospective Payment System, and it is designed to support the adoption of new technologies that have shown "substantial clinical improvement" and to ensure that these technologies become rapidly available to Medicare beneficiaries.
Indeed, adequate reimbursement for the use of AI algorithms has been held up as a potential barrier to use of the technology more broadly within radiology. The CMS action, if replicated with other AI applications, could remove that barrier.
Viz.ai said that it has demonstrated to CMS that use of Viz ContaCT results in a significant reduction in time to treatment for stroke and improves the clinical outcomes of patients. Medicare will pay up to $1,040 per use of the algorithm in patients with suspected strokes.