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Judge Gives DOJ 6 More Months to weigh Intervention in Community Health Lawsuit

The U.S. Justice Department has been granted six more months to weigh intervening in a whistleblower lawsuit against Community Health Systems, the hospital chain based in Franklin.

“We believe this filing indicates the investigation is not going away, but expanding,” said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst with CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn. “It is not the ‘it’s nothing, it’s going away’ or ‘settlement soon’ outcome that some more optimistic folks on (Wall) Street had hoped and argued for.”

Justice authorities and the hospital chain jointly requested the stay as a similar extension was set to expire this Monday. They cited the need for time to continue the broader federal probe into overlapping allegations of improper billings for inpatient care at hospitals associated with Community. A federal judge in Fort Wayne, Ind., granted the extension Thursday.