Native Air Flight Paramedic Achieves Major Milestone


Clinician impacts 1,000 lives and counting 

PAYSON, AZ, Nov. 9, 2023 – Native Air 7’s Flight Paramedic and Clinical Base Lead Josh Malia recently surpassed transporting his 1,000th patient. Flying a thousand miles can be quick and easy, but impacting a thousand lives takes hundreds of hours of training, teamwork, and meticulous effort, and Malia achieved this milestone in less than nine years. 

“I can remember nearly every one of my thousand calls,” said Malia, who joined Air Methods, the nation’s largest air medical services provider and Native Air’s parent company, nearly nine years ago. “I have learned a lot over the years and built some amazing friendships with my nurse partners and pilots. I am happy to have made a difference in over a thousand lives and look forward to continuing this mission.”  

While Malia has been flying since 2014, he has been in the emergency medical services field since high school. At 17 years old, Malia became an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and at 19 years old, he began schooling to become a paramedic. In the following years, he worked as a firefighter and emergency room paramedic, before becoming a flight paramedic. In 2016, he joined the Native Air 7 team and now calls Payson his second home. 

“Though he has transported more than 1,000 patients, his impact is undoubtedly on 10’s if not hundreds of thousands of lives when you consider he’s given sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and grandparents more tomorrows to celebrate life with their families,” said Ronnie Rivas-Savell, clinical director with Air Methods. “He never stops advocating for patients, inspiring teammates, and leading the industry.” 

Malia’s 1,000 transports have included 101 acute cardiac patients, 166 neurological emergencies, and 109 patients requiring mechanical ventilation support initiation.  

“I am proud to work for Air Methods and one of the reasons I started was the high safety standards,” said Malia. “Many partners have come and gone but the mission has remained the same through my time here—to save lives safely and efficiently through excellent, quality patient care.”   

Native Air 7 is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS), maintaining the highest standards in safety, clinical practice, quality assurance, and training in the industry. Pilots are trained using Level D full motion flight simulators, the highest fidelity flight simulators approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.  

Clinicians receive hands-on training through Air Methods Ascend, an in-person and online training program that allows clinicians to perform at the top of their licensure, providing the highest level of prehospital care, and enabling clinicians to work in lockstep across the region no matter the community they are serving. Ascend is also available to medical personnel across the nation. 

“The most important thing I can think of, serving more than a thousand patients, is the crew that has helped me complete this goal. I could not have done this without my nurses, medics, and pilots, who have changed my life,” said Malia. “I truly mean it when I say I have worked with the best of the best in the world.”  

Air Methods is committed to providing affordable air medical service to all who need it. They are in-network with most major health insurance providers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna, Humana, and many others. Additionally, the patient advocacy program works with all patients, regardless of insurance, to ensure affordability.