State efforts to help offset the cost of long-term care for consumers should include strengthening the direct care workforce needed to serve these consumers, too, according to a report released Tuesday by PHI and Caring Across Generations.

“The heightened interest in creating social insurance programs to fund long-term care is both encouraging and much-needed, yet policymakers should ensure that these programs also transform the quality of direct care jobs so that consumers can access this care,” PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon said in a statement.

The report, titled “Workforce Matters: The Direct Care Workforce and State-Based LTSS Social Insurance Programs,” outlines a framework of nine policy areas where state-based social insurance programs in long-term services and supports could build up the direct care workforce.

Policy reforms recommended in the report would aim to raise compensation, enhance training, promote advanced roles and improve supervision of the direct care workforce. They also would seek to fund innovations in recruiting and retention, improve data collection systems, commission state-sanctioned workgroups dedicated to this workforce, launch efforts to improve the relationship between family caregivers and direct care workers, and construct matching service registries to connect consumers and workers online.

“Our country is at a tipping point regarding long-term care. We need to make this system more affordable to families, and we need to boost workforce capacity to make it more accessible,” said report author Robert Espinoza, vice president of policy at PHI.