Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Dr. Arash Heidari prepares medicine that will be injected into an omaya injection reservoir on valley fever patient Mel Ramirez's head. Amphotericin, the antifungal medication, has stopped the progression of valley fever in Mel Ramirez's brain and spinal cord.

In the latest in a series of meetings with some of the nation's top health officials addressing valley fever, Rep. Kevin McCarthy met with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, Tuesday in Los Angeles.

In an email McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, wrote that he and Collins discussed efforts underway to fight the disease, including NIH's vaccine research and the need for focus on medications.

"NIH's support is critical in developing a valley fever vaccine, which I continue to strongly support, and I will be meeting with Dr. Collins and NIH valley fever experts again later this month to continue to press this issue," McCarthy wrote.

McCarthy visited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden last month as well and announced plans for CDC experts to visit the San Joaquin Valley later this year.

Clinica Sierra Vista was one of six health-related groups in the state awarded a low-interest loan.

The California Endowment provided more than $11.5 million in low-cost loans in partnership with Community Health Center Capital Fund and NCB Capital Impact, according to a news release. Clinica, which provides care for underserved people in Kern, Fresno and Inyo counties, received $2 million for construction invoices and the partial payoff of open lines of credit, the news release said. Loans were also awarded to programs across the state including health centers in Los Angeles and a charter school in Santa Ana.

Millions of uninsured Californians are predicted to be eligible for health care coverage next year and with that in mind, the Capital Fund and Capital Impact sought out groups that want to expand services and their ability to serve the state's lower-income residents, the news release said.

A Bay Area health care company announced that Kern Medical Center is the first public hospital to use its "unique health IT system."

A news release described the system, called Pavisse, as "an end-to-end incident management solution that helps hospitals report, manage and remediate potential violations" of regulations and standards. The system was developed by RGP Healthcare, a unit of Resources Global Professionals.

"With Pavisse, we now have a real-time health care intelligence tool to help us thrive in a regulation-rich environment where pressure to improve quality increases daily," KMC CEO Paul Hensler was quoted as saying in a news release.

Sandra Hegland, CEO of HealthSouth Bakersfield Rehabilitation Hospital, will share information about the symptoms of stroke at the Independent Living Center of Kern County later this month.

Hegland will speak at the center's Team Advocacy meeting, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. May 15, at 5251 Office Park Drive 200, according to a news release. The meeting is open to the public.

Some of the signs of a stroke are dizziness, problems swallowing, and pain and spasms in arms or legs, the news release said.

Contact Olivia Kent at 325-1063 or email info@ilcokerncounty.org for information.