Alignment eliminates backlogs, reduces wait times

The Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals, and Licensing (DIAL) focused its alignment efforts on three strategies: simplify, standardize, and modernize and the early results are remarkable. 

In July 2022, prior to the start of the alignment initiative, the state’s administrative law judges (ALJs) for unemployment cases moved from Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) to DIAL’s administrative hearings division. With the group came a backlog of 5,400 cases estimated to take 18 months to clear. The newly combined team mapped out processes and removed unnecessary steps to develop more efficient ways to manage its cases. As a result, the backlog was eliminated in just three months, and now, 92% of unemployment cases are completed within 30 days.  

After its success, the ALJs representing the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) were aligned with the division. At the time, decisions were being issued 12 to 14 months after hearings concluded. Today, wait times have been reduced more than 90%, with decisions issued in 30 days. 

DIAL identified licensing boards as another area that would benefit from simplifying and standardizing processes. At the time of alignment, 171 licensed physicians had submitted applications to practice medicine in Iowa under an interstate compact but had not yet received a decision from the Board of Medicine. Prior to alignment, medical licenses were approved within 60 days of application. Following the board’s alignment with DIAL, the backlog was cleared, and decisions are now issued within one business day. 

DIAL has proven that aligning teams with similar functions, simplifying processes, and standardizing operations will deliver real results for Iowans. 

The Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals, and Licensing now includes a number of licensing and regulatory functions from other state departments, including Division of Banking, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, and Workforce Development. The Division of Labor, Division of Workers’ Compensation, and Civil Rights Commission have also become a part of DIAL.