Founded in 1965, CMSS was created to provide an independent forum for the discussion by medical specialists of issues of national interest and mutual concern. Today, CMSS represents 44 societies with an aggregate membership of 750,000 U.S. physicians. Its main purpose is to provide a forum for collaboration to influence policy, medical education and accreditation from a broad, cross-specialty perspective. CMSS is the unified voice for specialty societies established to improve the U.S healthcare system and health of the public.

CMSS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit association incorporated in the state of Illinois. 

It is governed by its assembly, the Council, which consists of one or more representatives named by each member society. The assembly meets twice yearly, usually in May and November, for a period of one and one-half to two days. Only physician representatives may vote in Council and serve as Officers on the Board of Directors. 

The business affairs of CMSS are managed in the interim between regular meetings by a eight-person elected Board of Directors. Headed by a President, other Officers are the President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Past President, Public Board member, and Executive Vice President. Officers are elected to two-year terms. 

CMSS is supported principally by annual dues contributed by its members.