By Geert De Lombaerde

Community Health Systems Chairman and CEO Wayne Smith has again waded into the open market to buy big blocks of stocks of the company he has run since 1997.

As CHS shares hit an all-time low early this week, Smith cut checks of about $910,000 on Tuesday, $1 million on Wednesday and $470,000 Thursday to buy 1.2 million shares and grow his stake more than 4.5 million shares. That’s about 3.8 percent of Franklin-based CHS’ outstanding stock.

This week’s buying spree was Smith’s second this year after he hadn’t acquired CHS shares on the open market since late 2011. In early May, he spent more than $3.3 million on purchases.

Word of Smith’s activity via a Securities and Exchange Commission filing appeared to give CHS shares (Ticker: CYH) a boost Friday. At about 1:30 p.m. Friday, they were changing hands at about $2.39, up more than 10 percent on the day. However, that still leaves them down more than 50 percent from their level of six months ago. The stock’s all-time high was roughly $52 in mid-2015.

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