SmartSoles is a wearable GPS device that’s built into a removable sole. It can be slipped into a pair of shoes, making it much easier for the families of people with cognitive disorders to keep track of their loved ones. For families where a parent is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, GPS SmartSoles could help find someone who has wandered away quickly and simply while avoiding a costly and potentially traumatic missing person search by the police.
Medi-Cal Approval a Major Step for SmartSoles
The approval by Medi-Cal represents a major step for GTX Corp for several reasons, not the least of which is that the large population of people who would now have access to the product at no cost. The Medi-Cal program includes 58 county public social services agencies and 21 regional centers, ultimately serving some 11.4 million Californians, about one-third of the state’s population.
“Obtaining a state- and federal-funded reimbursement code is a game-changing catalyst for GTX Corp and should open the doors wide to the millions of people who need this solution but otherwise could not afford it,” said Patrick Bertagna GTX Corp CEO. “This code represents a first in many steps to have the GPS SmartSoles covered by other state-funded programs, private insurance providers, and ultimately by Medicare.”
The importance of this approval for GTX Corp was highlighted in a very bullish research report written by analyst John Ford earlier this year.
“The catalyst that would propel GTX from capturing 10% of the market to 30% of the market, would be success in obtaining reimbursement codes,” wrote Ford. “This would be a game changer for GTX, because Medicare and insurance companies would then cover some or even the bulk of the cost, which would more than triple the number of patients who could afford SmartSoles. Many lower income patients wouldn't buy SmartSoles if they had to pay themselves, but would buy if Medicare or an insurance provider paid.”
Approval from one of the largest state-run organizations in the country potentially brings some indreict benefits as well. Medi-Cal being one of the largest state-run medical benefit organizations, its tacit endorsement of GPS SmartSoles couls help speed similar approvals from other state Medicaid and Medicare organizations. Given that a large section of the target demographic for GPS SmartSoles would be among the elderly population, getting approval for Medicare reimbursement would be a major step towards long-term viability for the product.
An Ideal Product for a Niche Market
For the population of patients with cognitive disorders, GPS SmartSoles offers some clear benefits. For starters, 46% of those patients with cognitive disorders who go missing face death if they aren’t found within 24 hours. Ass in that the average search and rescue operation costs $10,000, and that’s assuming that it doesn’t ultimately involve helicopter searches or a medivac, and the benefits that GPS SmartSoles can provide should be clear.
However, whatever the financial benefits, it’s the avoidance of emotional trauma for patient and family alike that is creating the most excitement.
“It's obvious how this product helps caregivers, police departments, and assisted living facilities, but what really surprised me was that Alzheimer's and dementia sufferers appreciate the product as well,” wrote Ford. “I spoke with one dementia patient, and he said SmartSoles relieved a lot of the guilt that he felt, because he was totally aware of the burden he was placing on his wife and kids because they always had to keep an eye on him. He appreciated how SmartSoles allowed his family members to relax, which in turn allowed him to relax.”
GPS SmartSoles has the additional benefit of being easy to use and comfortable for the user. Even when wandering, patients typically still remember to put on their shoes before leaving the house, meaning they’re less likely to fail to wear the device like they might something in a phone, jacket, or hat. What’s more, the fact that the soles aren’t externally visible makes them more appealing to users. A device that doesn’t have the potential of creating a stigma or getting noticed and causing embarrassment is more likely to have a high usage rate.
“[M]ost people with a memory disorder don’t want to be stigmatized,” said Bertagna in an interview with Equities.com. “When they are lucid, they don’t want to be asking questions like ‘what is this thing around my wrist? What is this around my neck?’ They want to preserve some dignity.”
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