The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) is a multifaceted regulatory agency charged with protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Iowans.
DIA staff is responsible for inspecting and licensing or certifying health care providers and suppliers, restaurants and grocery stores, social and charitable gambling operations, and hotels and motels. In addition, DIA staff investigates alleged fraud in Iowa's public assistance programs and conducts contested case hearings to settle disputes between Iowans and various State and local government agencies. Learn more about the department and find links to Iowa Code and Iowa Administrative Rules.
If you need to visit the department, the main office is located on the Capitol complex in Des Moines.
Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals
Lucas State Office Building, Third Floor
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0083
Larry Johnson, Jr., is the director of DIA. He was appointed to this role by Governor Kim Reynolds on March 1, 2019.
Johnson previously served as the State public defender. In this role, he managed an organization with a $60 million budget and 220 employees in 19 offices throughout the state with the focus of providing the Constitutional right to counsel. Johnson served as legal counsel and deputy legal counsel for more than six years for Governor Terry E. Branstad and then-Lt. Governor Reynolds. As counsel, he served on the Iowa Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee as the governor’s ex officio representative. He collaborated with the information technology team in the design and development of a web-based application and award-winning website, rules.iowa.gov, that streamlined the regulatory review process. Prior to working in the governor’s office, he practiced administrative law in Des Moines.
Johnson received his law degree from Creighton University School of Law, and his Bachelor of Science in management from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. While in college, he studied in Spain at the University of Seville’s School of Economics and Business.
Essential, centralized support services for DIA are administered by and coordinated through the Administration Division. Division staff oversee all strategic planning, financials and budgeting, legislative affairs, administrative rulemaking, personnel, purchasing, and public information activities for the department.
Food and Consumer Safety Bureau
The Food and Consumer Safety Bureau is responsible for administering and enforcing the Iowa Food Code (Iowa Code Chapter 137F) by conducting food safety inspections at food establishments (grocery stores, restaurants, bars, farmers markets, home bakeries, convenience stores, etc.) and food processing plants. The purpose of the Iowa Food Code is to "safeguard the public health and provide to consumers, food that is safe, unadulterated and honestly prepared." The Food Code is based upon food safety recommendations developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in consultation with representatives from the food industry and regulators, and focuses on public health and the prevention of foodborne illness.
In March 2021 the bureau began registering consumable hemp manufacturers and retailers wishing to operate in Iowa per Iowa Code Chapter 204 (Iowa Hemp Act) and Iowa Administrative Code 481, Chapter 32 (Consumable Hemp Products).
- Learn more about food business licensing.
- Learn more about consumable hemp registration for manufacturers and retailers.
Social and Charitable Gambling Unit
The Social and Charitable Gambling Unit administers Iowa Code Chapter 99B, which regulates games of skill or chance, raffles, bingo, social gambling and amusement devices. Qualified organizations may obtain a social or charitable gambling license to conduct fund-raising activities benefiting educational, civic, public, charitable, patriotic, or religious purposes.
The Administrative Hearings Division of DIA conducts contested-case and other administrative proceedings for nearly all State agencies and some local government agencies.
The division is authorized by the legislature in Iowa Code 10A.801, and is governed by the Iowa Administrative Procedures Act, Iowa Code chapter 17A, the division's administrative rules, and the relevant statutes and rules of the agency for which the division is conducting a particular contested case proceeding.
Administrative Law Judges
Administrative law judges (ALJs) within the Administrative Hearings Division have the following responsibilities:
- Preside over telephone or in-person hearings
- Rule on motions or objections
- Decide cases fairly and impartially
- Write proposed agency decisions in cases on many topics, including driver’s licenses revocations and child abuse assessment proceedings
The Administrative Hearings Division of DIA conducts administrative proceedings for nearly all State agencies and some local government agencies. While the division is required to conduct certain contested case proceedings by statute or administrative rule, it is also authorized under section 10A.801(5) of Iowa Code to conduct any proceeding for any governmental entity on a contract basis.
The majority of the division's cases are conducted for the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Iowa Department of Transportation.
The Health Facilities Division is the designated state survey and certification agency, responsible for state licensure and federal certification of Medicare and Medicaid programs and other health care providers and suppliers operating in the state of Iowa. DIA provides oversight for nursing facilities, skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities, intermediate care facilities for the intellectually disabled, hospitals, hospices, home health agencies, programs and facilities caring for children, assisted living programs, and elder group homes.
Survey teams from the division conduct unannounced on-site inspections at health care facilities to assess the quality of care and services provided to clients, patients, residents, and tenants. If problems are discovered during an inspection, the division can initiate corrective and/or disciplinary action to assure a facility's compliance with State and federal rules. Health Facilities Division personnel also investigate complaints alleging improper care or treatment of patients, residents, and tenants in licensed and certified entities.
The division also includes the Iowa Direct Care Worker (DCW) Registry, which manages the database of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in Iowa, and the Abuse Coordinating Unit, which asists with the detection, investigation, and prosecution of civil, administrative dependent adult abuse investigations in health care facilities.
The Investigations Division audits health care facilities, and conducts criminal, civil, and administrative investigations of fraud and misconduct. Staff within the division work closely with other State and local partners in identifying fraud, waste, and abuse, and where appropriate, forward cases to federal, State, and local officials for prosecution.
Investigations Division Units
- Economic Fraud Control Unit—Investigates recipient public assistance fraud and food assistance trafficking. Investigates the transfer or assignment of a legal or equitable interest in property from a Medicaid transferor to a transferee for less than fair market value.
- Human Services Audits Unit—Performs expenditure audits of local Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) offices to determine eligibility for federal reimbursements and to ensure compliance with State and federal funding requirements. Audits also are performed at residential care facilities, nursing facilities, and residential and intermediate care facilities for the intellectually disabled, to ensure that residents’ funds are being properly maintained. The audits are used to verify that Medicaid reimbursement procedures meet all applicable government requirements.
- Medicaid Fraud Control Unit—Investigates allegations of fraud committed by providers against the Medicaid program and fraud in the administration of the Medicaid program. Additionally, investigates abuse/neglect and other crimes committed upon residents in care facilities or related programs that receive funding from the Medicaid program.
- Public Assistance Debt Recovery Unit—Investigates and initiates collections of overpayment debts owed to DHS.
Four units are attached to the department, for administrative support purposes. Each unit, like DIA's major divisions, has Iowa Code-mandated duties and responsibilities.
Child Advocacy Board
The Child Advocacy Board ensures that the foster care system is working to place each Iowa foster child in a permanent home. In addition, CAB administers the State's Court-Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA), which is designed to protect the rights of Iowa’s foster children in all court-related activities.
Employment Appeal Board
The three-member Employment Appeal Board is appointed by the governor and serves as the final administrative law forum for State and federal unemployment benefit appeals. The board also hears appeals of rulings of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and rulings of the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS). The three members of the board are appointed to represent employers, employees, and the general public. In addition to unemployment cases, the board hears appeals involving peace officer issues and contractor registration requirements. The board receives 96 percent of its funding from the federal government based on the number of appeals heard and the time taken to render a decision.
- James Strohman, Chair, Labor Representative
- Ashley Koopmans, Vice Chair, Public Representative
- Myron Linn, Board Member, Management Representative
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulates pari-mutuel dog and horse racing, commercial gambling facilities, sports wagering, and fantasy sports contests in Iowa.
State Public Defender’s Office
The mission of the State Public Defender is to provide high-quality legal representation to impoverished clients who are accused of committing crimes or involved in juvenile court matters.