Context The Measuring What Matters initiative of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association identified documentation of a surrogate decision maker as one of the top 10 quality indicators in the acute hospital and hospice settings. Objectives To better understand the potential implementation of this Measuring What Matters quality measure #8, Documentation of Surrogate in outpatient primary care settings by describing primary care patients' self-reported identification and documentation of a surrogate decision maker. Methods Examination of patient responses to self-assessment questions from advance health care planning educational groups conducted in one medical center primary care clinic and seven community-based outpatient primary care clinics. We assessed the concordance between patient reports of identifying and naming a surrogate decision maker and having completed an advance directive (AD) with presence of an AD in the electronic medical record. Results Of veterans without a documented AD on file, more than half (66%) reported that they had talked with someone they trusted and nearly half (52%) reported that they had named someone to communicate their preferences. Conclusions Our clinical project data suggest that many more veterans may have initiated communications with surrogate decision makers than is evident in the electronic medical record. System changes are needed to close the gap between veterans' plans for a surrogate decision maker and the documentation available to acute care health care providers.