FORMER HEALTH Secretary Enrique T. Ona said upgrading the information technology (IT) systems within the Department of Health (DoH) and its attached agencies will help prevent fraudulent activities such as the recent “ghost” dialysis claims involving the PhilHealth Health Insurance Corp. and a private service provider.

“All of these alleged abuses can only be resolved in the future when you really improve the IT or the computerization of healthcare and health information of the country,” Mr. Ona said in a chance interview with reporters on Wednesday.

He added, “It’s not only for PhilHealth but for the entire healthcare system.”

The former DoH chief also noted that improving the IT systems within the health department is crucial with the passage earlier this year of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law.

The UHC Law, with its implementing rules and regulations now being drafted, mandates the PhilHealth coverage of all Filipinos.

“That’s more than 110 million Filipinos,” said Mr. Ona, a surgeon by profession, who served as the DoH secretary from 2010 to 2014.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said the two whistle-blowers in the “ghost” dialysis claims controversy involving PhilHealth and WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center Corp. have been granted provisional admission to the Witness Protection Program (WPP).

“They have been provisionally admitted into the WPP for 90 days, pending preliminary investigation by the DoJ (Department of Justice) of the other respondents,” Mr. Guevarra said in a text message.

Whistleblowers Edwin C. Roberto and Liezel Aileen Santos-De Leon, along with WellMed owner and Vice President Bryan Christopher W. Sy, were indicted by the DoJ for estafa through falsification of data in connection with the allegedly fraudulent dialysis claims using names of deceased patients.

Preliminary investigation, meanwhile, is ongoing for the other WellMed officers included in the complaint, namely: Medical Director John Ray M. Gonzales, Chairman Claro N. Sy, Corporate Treasurer Alvin W. Sy, Purchasing Officer Therese Francesca R. Tan, Administration Officer Dick S. Ong, and physicians Porshia C. Natividad and Joemie D. Soriano. — Gillian M. Cortez and Vann Marlo M. Villegas