The baseline characteristics and outcome of patients with acute chest pain who were brought to the hospital by public versus private mobile intensive care units were compared. Of 283 patients brought to the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center by mobile units in July and September of 1995, 163 were transported by the private service and 120 by the public service. Patients who were brought by the private service were older and had significantly more comorbidities, especially cardiac history. However, a significantly higher proportion of patients brought by the public service suffered confirmed myocardial infarction, and were hospitalized in the intensive coronary care unit. In addition, mortality in this group was significantly higher (4.0% vs. 2.2%). Possible explanations for this finding are greater accessibility or bias in the prehospital management of patients channeled through the private mobile service.