Michael Griffiths, RN, CEN, CFRN
Region 1 Director
Chief Executive Officer, Life Flight Network
I have 25+ years of experience in civilian and military aviation operations, 23 years as a flight nurse and experience as a private pilot. I joined Life Flight Network in 2002 as the Chief Flight Nurse and have been in my current role since 2007. I have gained a vast knowledge of the air medical industry over the years through my leadership roles. I enjoy using this knowledge to help bring positive changes to the air medical industry as the Region 1 representative on the AAMS Board.
Q: Tell us about your job and what you love most about it.
A: As the Chief Executive Officer at the largest non-profit air ambulance program in the United States, I am responsible for the overall safety, success, growth, and financial health of the organization. One of the most satisfying parts of the job is leading an organization that brings a vital, life-saving service to our communities.
Q: What / Who inspired you to follow an air medical / critical care transport career path and how did you break into it?
A: I’m a private pilot and have always loved aviation. Becoming a flight nurse allowed me to combine two of my passions – aviation and patient care. My first flight nurse job was with Critical Air Medicine in San Diego.
Q: What is your proudest career-defining moment that best represents your overall professional expertise and experience?
A: When I started in my current role, Life Flight Network was a small two-helicopter program operating in the Portland metropolitan area. After a series of strategic base openings and acquisitions of three other flight programs, we are now the largest not-for-profit flight program in the United States, operating 45 aircraft and a fleet of ground ambulances throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. This growth brought quicker access to air medical services for many rural communities and also helped ensure the company’s viability at a time when larger companies were expanding and taking over many hospital-based programs throughout the country.
Q: What inspired you to join the AAMS Board?
A: I saw the AAMS Board position as an opportunity to represent the interests of Region 1 programs, supporting them in their efforts to maintain superior performance standards, safe and efficient operations, and the highest quality of patient care. I also thought it was important non-profit programs were sufficiently represented in AAMS.
Q: What are your top three impact goals you plan to achieve as a board member?
A: I will work to provide solutions to issues facing our industry that could hinder our ability to provide this essential service to the communities we serve. My focus is to:
1) Bring the fragmented air medical community back together, working collaboratively to address the complex issues all of us face;
2) Work to ensure the industry and AAMS are fiscally sound; and
3) Improve the industry’s image in the public eye.
Q: What do you see as the future of our industry and what is the best way to adapt to a changing landscape; and given that, what are the role do you see AAMS play in that change?
A: One of the biggest challenges facing our industry is the lack of adequate insurance reimbursement and the efforts from lawmakers to limit our ability to financially survive while doing nothing to address the root of the problem. If lawmakers (at the backing and encouragement of insurance companies) are successful in these efforts, it could be catastrophic for the future of our industry. The air medical community must work collaboratively to thwart these efforts and ensure our services are available to the patients who need them. AAMS can play an important role through advocacy, education and public awareness.
Q: What’s your favorite book / movie / movie quote and why?
A: These are two of my favorite movie quotes because many situations in management fall into one of these two categories.
– Adam Sandler in Billy Madison: “Information I could have used yesterday.” and
– American Pie: “This one time at band camp.”