Founded in 1965 as the Tri-College Council, CMSS was created to provide an independent forum for the discussion by medical specialists of issues of national interest and mutual concern. Founding members were the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Surgeons. In 1967, as other specialty societies joined, CMSS adopted its current name. Today, 50 societies with more than 800,000 U.S. physician members are members of CMSS.

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

CMSS is governed by the CEO Council and the elected CMSS 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.