AUGUSTA — Brenda Harvey, outgoing commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, has been named executive director of a non-profit group aimed at maximizing policy and cost-effectiveness of Medicaid programs in New England.

Harvey, who served as commissioner for five years during Gov. John Baldacci’s administration, will begin her new job at the New England States Consortium Systems Organization on January 6, according to a release issued on Monday.

“I am excited about this new venture and look forward to strengthening NESCSO’s ability to bring real value to the New England health and human services agencies,” Harvey said in the release. “There difficult economic times and the many challenges and opportunities that come with health reform position NESCSO to be a strong resource.”

Harvey received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maine and earned her master’s degree at the University of Southern Maine.