The clinic began with a telephone hotline for people with a medical problem and no way to pay for medical care. By October 1970, a free clinic was opened, fostered by the late Dr. Gene Atherton and bail bondsman Ron Kaufman.
Some locals were riled, fearing that free medical care would draw more undesirables to town.
Former Police Chief Neil Purcell was among the skeptics, but he later came to realize the clinic provided valuable services — never more so than in the 1980s when a mysterious ailment decimated the city's vibrant gay community.
The clientele has changed, the location moved from Ocean Avenue to Third Street and a sliding scale of payment has replaced the free medical services. The clinic that began by caring for indigents with needle-transferred hepatitis and STDs, now offers quality family health care as well as discrete testing for HIV/AIDS.