501(c)(3) Bonds

A significant segment of our public finance practice is focused on tax-exempt bond financings for qualified health care, educational, and cultural organizations.

Health Care

Health care finance has been a significant part of our public finance practice since its inception. Our attorneys have served as bond counsel and underwriter's counsel to leading U.S. health care systems and have handled financings for many entities, including specialty and community hospitals; nursing homes, ambulatory care facilities, mental health treatment facilities, and other sub-acute care facilities; and assisted living facilities. Ballard Sphar has been involved in hundreds of health care financings.

Additionally, we have been involved in financings for medical schools and academic medical centers and their affiliates. We have especially notable experience acting as underwriter's counsel, credit enhancer's counsel, lender's counsel, and bond counsel in financings for startup and existing continuing care retirement communities.

For our health care clients, we negotiate interest rate swap and other derivatives transactions, advise on ongoing tax and securities compliance, and represent them in IRS tax audits.

Finally, we are experienced with credit enhancement devices, including letters of credit and standby bond purchase agreements, bond insurance and guarantees issued by financial institutions, credit support from governmental entities, and inter-creditor arrangements among health care creditors.


Ballard Spahr has a long history of representing educational institutions, especially colleges and universities, and understand the financial pressures and challenges they face.

In the higher education area, we have acted as bond counsel and underwriter's counsel in financings involving state university systems, private colleges and universities, academic medical centers, proprietary institutions, and post-secondary institutions. And our reach is significant.

We also participate in financings for vocational/technical schools, school districts, and private and parochial secondary schools, and have extensive experience with student loan programs, serving as bond, underwriter's, or trustee's counsel.

These financings have supported the development of campus facilities, hospitals and clinics, research buildings, student housing (both university-owned and privatized housing), auxiliary facilities, and stadiums located in every region in the country.

Our tax practice has had great success working with financial service providers to provide comprehensive legal and financial analysis and consultation specifically with respect to student loans. Our legal understanding of tax and arbitrage have been instrumental in obtaining favorable tax positions and conclusion of controversies for student loan bond issuers.

Our attorneys have also acted as bond counsel for numerous charter schools in Arizona, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, D.C., and have assisted charter schools in obtaining financing through tax-exempt bonds, Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs), and New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs).


Health Care

  • For more than 20 years, we have served as underwriter's counsel in financings for an internationally prominent research, health care, and educational organization and its affiliates, comprising 19 issues aggregating approximately $2.6 billion. These transactions financed or refinanced the construction of new hospitals, research facilities, clinical facilities, and educational facilities in Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Florida.
  • We acted as bond counsel in connection with the comprehensive restructuring in 2004 and 2005 of approximately $700 million in bonds and in 2008 and 2009 for approximately $400 million in bonds for a health system comprising an Ivy League medical school, its faculty practice, teaching and research hospitals, and community hospitals.
  • Ballard Spahr has represented the underwriter in financings for an internationally prominent pediatric hospital and research center in Philadelphia aggregating nearly $1 billion.