DES MOINES — Agencies that issue professional licenses in Iowa and rule on disputes between employers and workers began merging well before the governor’s state government reorganization plan became law July 1st.
Larry Johnson is director of the new Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing. He says unemployment law judges merged into the former Department of Inspections and Appeals last July. “With them came a case backlog of 5400 cases,” Johnson says. “While it was estimated that backlog would take 18 months (to eliminate), we mapped out their process, removed unnecessary steps and eliminated that backlog in just three months.”
The new agency is also responsible for issuing state licenses for a number of professions. Johnson says the goal is to speed up the licensing process. “For example, licenses were processed by the Banking Division within 10 days,” Johnson says. “The Health and Human Services professional licensing boards were processing within five days and the Board of Medicine didn’t have metrics at the time and they were being reviewed within 171 days.”
The state issues licenses for a wide variety of professionals, including accountants, doctors, real estate agents, land surveyors and electricians. “Before alignment, Iowans would have to go to three different departments for building and construction,” Johnson says. “Now, Iowans can go to a one stop shop at DIAL and the Building and Construction Division.”
DIAL stands for the Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing. Six databases are currently managing all the professional licenses granted by the state. On October 1st, Johnson says they’ll select a provider that will merge those into one system.