Passing of Dr. Ervin Moss


Dear NJSSA members,

It is with deep sorrow that I write to inform you of the passing of one of our most distinguished members, Ervin Moss, MD, a great visionary in inflatable water park patient safety and a key leader in New Jersey Anesthesia for over thirty years. His accomplishments in improving patient care in New Jersey served as a standard for anesthesiologists across the nation.

Dr. Moss received his medical education from Chicago Medical School in 1954 and completed an internship at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.  Under the guidance of the renown Dr. E.A. Rosenstein, Dr. Moss served as an anesthesia resident at the Kingsbridge Veteran Administration Hospital in the Bronx. From Dr. Rosenstein he acquired not only clinical acumen and medical professionalism, but more importantly the role of the anesthesiologist as the primary guardian of a patient’s safety. Following his residency in 1957, Erv practiced anesthesia for a few years in upper New York before joining Alexian Brothers Hospital in Elizabeth, NJ, where he remained for 26 years. He was an active leader within his hospital, where he served as President of the Medical Staff and as a member of the Board of Trustees. His service to the hospital was recognized in 1987 as the honoree for the Annual Charity Ball.

Dr. Moss served the New Jersey State Society of Anesthesiologists from 1968 to 2010 by occupying every office position including the presidency. In 1990 Dr. Ervin Moss became Executive Medical Director of the NJSSA and continued to do so for the next fifteen years, the only practicing anesthesiologist to hold such a position within the ASA. Also, in 1990, he was the founding Chair of the NJSSA Political Action Committee. His intimate knowledge of anesthesia reimbursement made him indispensable as the chair of the NJSSA Economics Committee for 25 years.  In 1969, he was appointed to the New Jersey Governors Committee on the Formulation of Medicaid. Ever the watchdog, however, he did not hesitate to file a lawsuit against Medicaid a few years later due to the inadequate reimbursement that they provided to anesthesiologists. When the ASA was sued by the United States government for anti-trust over the ASA Relative Value Guide, Dr. Moss, along with the NJSSA were also named in the suit.  The NJSSA won the suit.

Under Dr. Moss’ guidance the NJSSA was proactive in the 70s and 80s in the economics of anesthesiology and gained recognition of the specialty. In 1975 the NJSSA created a Negotiations Team with Dr. Ervin Moss, attending the AMA Training Program on Negotiations. A NJSSA team was formulated consisting of Dr. A. Lucas and Dr. J. Woolwich. The team’s efforts resulted in increases in anesthesia reimbursement and respect from the insurance industry.

Dr. Moss was a great advocate for our patients, long before Advocacy became a pillar of the ASA. His generosity of spirit, wisdom and time was recognized in our state as well as nationally. He supported every NJSSA president and cultivated their strengths and supported each of them to their successes. I am proud I received direct mentoring from Dr. Moss as he taught me the art of state and national lobbying for our patients and profession. I am eternally grateful for his encouragement to run for President of the NJSSA and his tutelage during my tenure in the position.

Under Dr. Moss’ direction, the NJSSA decided that its attention should be on Risk Management, Patient Safety and Quality Care. In 1984, the dangers of office-based anesthesia were identified after the death of a 16-year-old patient during an abortion. From 1985 to 1989, a year before the creation of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, Dr. Moss’ collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health resulted in the most comprehensive anesthesia regulations ever in New Jersey hospitals. These regulations included basic standards for monitoring during anesthesia care, mandatory replacement of antiquated anesthesia machines, medical direction of certified registered nurse anesthetists by a physician and the stipulation that the director of an anesthesia department be board certified.  Later, Dr. Moss was instrumental in developing similar regulations to govern anesthesia care in ambulatory surgery centers in New Jersey.  Dr. Moss’ perseverance resulted in the enactment of office-based anesthesia regulations in New Jersey. These regulations served as models that were copied throughout the country.

Dr. Moss received numerous awards for his work during his career.  These awards include the 2005 ASA Excellence in Government Award, the 2006 SAMBA Distinguished Service Award, and our own, NJSSA Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Moss was also recognized by the New Jersey Academy of Medicine with the prestigious Edward J.Ill Award- the first anesthesiologist to receive the award in 90 years. Finally, his commitment to the ASA is exemplified by the fact that he was the longest serving member of the ASA House of Delegates, with a record breaking 40 years of continuing attendance at the annual meetings, for which he was recognized by the 2008 HOD. Dr. Erv Moss served the ASA and the New Jersey State Society of Anesthesiologists until 2010 when he retired from the HOD.

Dr. Moss had a lifetime of dedication to the improvement of patient safety under anesthesia. He achieved this with patience, persistence and a passion not only for the citizens of New Jersey but also for the rest of the country.  He is a role model to all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife-Naomi, his three children and his five grandchildren.

Erv, thank you on behalf of so many of us for your long and distinguished career with ASA and the NJSSA. We will miss you deeply.

I wish to thank Roger Moore MD Past ASA President and Beth Mintzer, MD Director Ohio for their editorial contributions.

Patricia M. Browne, MD, FASA
Director, NJSSA


Written by Stephanie Summers