Memorial was renamed Ochsner Baptist, in honor of its original roots as a Southern Baptist hospital. The building underwent a massive gut renovation, which was completed two years ago.
"We've invested well over $100 million of resources," said Thomas. "And today it's a regional destination for women's care."
A big chunk of resources were invested in moving the building's emergency backup systems well above the highwater mark from Katrina, including a massive generator that is able to run all of the hospital's systems. In addition, water and fuel pipelines have been installed to make sure the generator can keep running.
And then, there's that naval fleet.
"We don't anticipate having to need them," explained Thomas, "but if we did, we're prepared."
But beyond another hurricane, analysts say the next big challenge for Ochsner and other not-for-profit hospitals will be navigating the consolidation wave among the large insurers.
Moody's analysts see the proposed mergers between Aetna and Humana, and Anthem and Cigna as a negative for hospitals. More than half of hospital revenues are now subject to negotiation, with insurers playing a larger role in managing government Medicare and Medicaid programs, in addition to private insurance plans. Moody's expects hospital reimbursement rates could face new headwinds starting in 2017 if the insurance mergers are approved.
The deals could take more than a year to gain regulatory approval, so hospitals need to use the time to get their operating budgets in order, said Moody's Goldstein.
"Many are already getting ready by looking at their cost structure, becoming very efficient in their operations," Goldstein said.
At Baptist, they feel they're prepared, for most anything.
"We were able to become very flexible" after Katrina, said Casey, "which is what you need to be in today's modern health-care field."