Leaders in the U.S. Senate have called for a special review of how nursing homes handle residents’ money placed in trust funds.

The chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), cited a recent USA Today report as the reason for the request.

“According to data cited in the article, during the past three years, auditors have issued more than fifteen hundred citations to nursing homes for mishandling these trust funds in some manner,” Nelson wrote in an Oct. 21 letter to Daniel Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Nursing home workers can steal money from these facility-managed trust funds with relative ease due to poor oversight, and often are caught only through luck, according to the USA Today report. 

While some long-term care provider advocates disputed that these cases are common, lawmakers are taking the charges seriously: Nelson asked the Office of the Inspector General to examine current safeguards against this type of crime and to issue recommendations based on its findings, and he was joined by an ally across the aisle, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA).

“I hope the inspector general will … identify solutions to better protect nursing home residents,” stated Grassley, a former chairman of the Special Committee on Aging. These solutions might combine state, federal and industry initiatives, he added.